Another toll road for England - the A14


Despite the problems with the M6 toll we reported on yesterday, the government is planning to turn part of the A14 into a second UK toll road.

This will be even more controversial, because originally the government said tolls would only be for completely new roads. The details are still to be confirmed, but the idea is for a 20 mile stretch of the A14, probably from the A1M to the M11, to be expanded and converted to a toll road, with work starting in 2018.

Cambridgeshire County Council leader Nick Clarke described the announcement as "fantastic news for the area". Transport Secretary Justine Greening said: "The A14 is a crucial strategic route for the east of England, vital not only for international road traffic using the port of Felixstowe but everyone who relies on it daily."

The experience of the M6 toll road is that drivers continue to use the old road to avoid paying the tolls, so local residents in Cambridgeshire are naturally worried that traffic on roads around the A14 could actually increase if the new road is built.

Alternatively, if local roads become too congested, there could be little alternative to paying the toll. The Freight Transport Association has warned, "The FTA is worried that freight operators who have to use the A14 in order to get in and out of Felixstowe will be forced to pay this toll, which would be seen as an unavoidable tax if they are not offered a reasonable affordable alternative route to reach the Suffolk port."