Respected trade body claims the toll would be an ‘attack on the economy in East Anglia’
Further to the announcement of the DfT’s (Department for Transport’s) proposal to implement a toll on a stretch of the planned new A14, the Huntingdon southern bypass, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) is launching a sticker campaign against the plan.
The RHA is printing two shapes of free of charge sticker – one long horizontal, the other portraitshaped – to accommodate the variety of types of commercial vehicle and trailer.
The proposal has already drawn strong criticism from hauliers in the region and last week the RHA said it amounted to an attack on the economy in East Anglia.
The RHA said that, if implemented, the scheme would:
- Put hauliers in East Anglia and Suffolk at a disadvantage against firms elsewhere;
- Amount to a tax on business as a whole in East Anglia and Suffolk, as hauliers would seek to pass on the additional costs;
- Undermine the competitiveness of the Port of Felixstowe and other ports in the region by adding to the cost base of haulage to and from the port;
- Add to the Red Tape burden on industry;
- Undermine the movement of people and service vans between the two sides of the toll road;
- Eliminate the current A14 as an alternative to be used if there is a hold-up caused by an accident;
- Be an expensive way of generating revenue; and
- Set a worrying precedent for the development of a patchwork of local tolls on the Highways Agency network.
RHA Director of Policy Jack Semple said: “The proposal is, in effect, to create something with much the same effect as the Dartford, Severn or Humber crossings. To ensure drivers have no practical alternative to the tolled road, the DfT is even planning to demolish a bridge on the current A14 so that through traffic has no practical alternative to paying the toll – other than not to travel.
“When David Cameron told the House of Commons he wanted to see the DfT building roads, he surely did not mean destroying perfectly sound road infrastructure in the process.
“The tolling proposal stands on its head the logic of the Chancellor’s recent reduction in tolls at the Humber Bridge in order to boost business. Here we have no major bridge to build, just the imposition of a toll which will damage the economy locally and in the region as a whole.”