England

Concerns over Cambridgeshire A14 upgrade scheme

Planned bridge across the Great Ouse Image copyright Other
Image caption The A14 scheme includes a bridge over the River Great Ouse

A multi-million-pound upgrade of the A14 in Cambridgeshire could harm public health by increasing noise and air pollution, campaigners have claimed.

The Highways Agency has published its final route for the upgrade of the A14 between Cambridge and a new bypass to the south of Huntingdon.

It says more vehicles use the current route between Cambridge and Huntingdon than it was designed for.

Villagers living near the planned road said it would be closer to homes.

The scheme involves widening a heavily congested 25-mile (40 km) stretch in East Anglia carrying traffic from the port of Felixstowe to the Midlands.

Image copyright Highways Agency
Image caption Plans in 2012 to charge a toll to drivers using the proposed new section of road were dropped after opposition from MPs

It also includes a bypass to the south of Huntingdon.

The Highways Agency has said that about a quarter of the users of the A14 were heavy goods vehicles.

Eileen Collier, chairman of the Brampton A14 Action Group, said: "We are very concerned. The bypass would result in 10 lanes of traffic within 300 metres of family homes.

"We are really concerned about the impact of the road on public health."

Toll scheme abandoned

The action group is concerned the plans would see 120,000 vehicles daily in 2020 rising to 153,500 in 2035, with associated air and noise pollution and harm to public health.

Mrs Collier said the plans would see 150,000 vehicles a day "not far from a village primary school".

A previous plan to widen the A14, announced by the Labour government, was cancelled by the coalition government in 2010.

A 2012 scheme to improve the road through a toll scheme was abandoned after opposition from local MPs.

The Highways Agency said: "We continue to progress with the development of the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme, and remain on target for work to start in 2016.

"Our development consent order has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, who will now consider our application."

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