December 9 2013 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Correspondent
Monday, September 23, 2013
No tolls roads will be proposed in Labour’s 2015 manifesto shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle has said, as she claimed plans to charge drivers on the A14 would create more emissions and congestion.
At a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, the Labour MP said she was “not convinced” by the coalition government’s A14 roll road plans for a stretch of road between Cambridge and Huntingdon, which she said would have a bad impact on local people who live on roads used by drivers not wishing to pay a toll.
However, she did not reveal if she would reverse the A14 toll plans if Labour wins the general election in 2015.
The Highways Agency is consulting on the £1.5bn plan for the A14, which links the Port of Felixstowe with the Midlands and M6, via Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
A toll of between £1 and £1.50 for cars, and double for lorries, is being proposed for a stretch of the road south of Huntingdon to help fund part of the improvements.
Ms Eagle said: “The difficultly I have with saying lets have a toll on this bit of road is we are quite a small densely populated country and we have an integrated set of roads.
“If you introduce a toll on one road what tends to happen is it just displaces people on to nearby roads.
“It has consequences for congestion and the small villages that people start driving through.”
She said: “Their (the government’s) policy has not advanced very far and I think there are difficulties with what they have said so far. I am not convinced that what they have said about the A14 will not just displace and create more emissions and more congestion and more bad impacts on local people who have to live on the roads that people are displaced on to. I don’t think that is good policy.”
She added: “I am not proposing any road toll in the next manifesto.”
But she did say: “I do think there is an issue in the medium to longer term facing politicians and I don’t think the government has come up with a viable convincing proposal.
“We have got to be a bit more focused at not just introducing one toll on one road, and I don’t think anybody has done work on that.”