A14: Plans For Toll Road Will Be Scrapped
4 December 2013, 06:07 | Updated: 4 December 2013, 07:48
The Government will announce later they're scrapping plans to introduce toll roads to the A14, between Cambridge and Huntingdon.
The announcement is contained in the new national infrastructure plan (NIP) setting out over £375 billion of planned public and private investments to 2030 and beyond.
Motorists will not be charged to use the A14, between Cambridge and Huntingdon once the improvement scheme, due to start in 2016, is completed.
The idea had been that a toll road, where drivers had to pay between £1 and £1.50, would be introduced, to help pay for the £1.5 billion upgrade.
It would've been the UK's first new toll road for a decade.
Speaking earlier this morning Mr Alexander, said: "I will be talking today about the A14, that is a major connection from some of our most important port facilities to get their goods to market.
"We will be confirming that that project is going ahead, it is going to be funded by the Government with no tolls on that road, but also no delay to the delivery of that project.
"That is an example of a key road where we need to get the investment going, where we are committed to the investment going forward, we are shortening the time scales to deliver that project.''
Other measures being announced include:
- A further £50 million will be allocated to redevelop the railway station at Gatwick Airport.
- A Government guarantee could support finance for the development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa on Anglesey.
- The £1 billion Northern Line extension to Battersea in south west London will also be guaranteed by the Government.
- Funding for improvements to the A50 around Uttoxeter in Staffordshire to start no later than 2015/16.
- A £10 million competitive fund to open in early 2014 to test ways to deliver superfast broadband to remote areas of the UK.
The planned infrastructure investment has increase from £309 billion last year to more than £375 billion, with 291 of the 646 projects and programmes already under construction.
The decision by insurers Legal and General, Prudential, Aviva, Standard Life, Friends Life and Scottish Widows to invest in infrastructure follows changes in European rules pushed for by the UK which incentivise investment in a wider range of assets.
Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander will unveil the NIP today, alongside Commercial Secretary and former London Olympics chief Lord Deighton.
Mr Alexander will say: "The announcement today that six major insurers will invest £25 billion over the next five years is a massive vote of confidence in the UK economy.
"It supports the wider £100 billion public investment to rebuild Britain over the next seven years that I announced at the Spending Round 2013. Underground, overground, onshore, offshore, wired or wireless, tarmac or train track. You name it, we're building it right now.
"This is great news for the people of the UK because after years of neglect, the UK's energy, road, rail, flood defence, communications and water infrastructure needs renewal.
"It will boost the UK economy creating jobs and making it easier to do business. It will also make the UK a better place to live for everyone who calls it their home.''
Association of British Insurers director general Otto Thoresen said: "Insurers have a key role to play in contributing to the UK's economic growth, as providers of long-term capital investment. Providing capital for infrastructure projects will help drive a competitive, healthy and resilient UK economy.''
The decision to drop plans to toll the upgraded A14 has been welcomed by campaigners and follows David Cameron's acknowledgement of the "strong feelings'' about the proposal in East Anglia.
RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "Piecemeal tolling that would raise little money but create a lot of aggravation and delay was always going to be a hard sell and not the best advert for pay-as-you-go driving.''
At Prime Minister's Questions last week, Mr Cameron said: "I am well aware of the strong feelings in Suffolk about this issue and I have been approached about it by many Members of Parliament.
"I believe that road tolls can play an important part in providing new road capacity and it is important that we find ways to pay for road capacity, but I also understand the concerns about this individual case.''