A14 toll say no

Today our sister website, Commercialmotor.com, reported on the launch of the RHA’s campaign against the introduction of tolling on the A14 in Cambridgeshire. The Hub fully endorses this campaign, viewing the toll not just as a punitive tax on haulage in East Anglia, but on imports and exports in the UK as a whole.

There are three major concerns with introducing a toll on a stretch of the planned new A14, the Huntingdon southern bypass, all of which would damage the prospects and performance of logistics businesses.

1) Road tolling is congestion created and endorsed by the government. Has anyone tried to travel north or south in the country via the Dartford Crossing on a Friday afternoon? Miles and miles of congestion, for hours and hours and hours, all because – by law – you have to pay to use the bridge and the tunnel. And there are no sensible alternatives. Users of the A14, travelling along the major east/west artery in England will face the same predicament. Congestion will increase running times for road hauliers, increase fuel use and the toll will come straight off their bottom lines.

2) It would destroy any pretense of a level playing field for hauliers based in East Anglia. Much as hauliers in south Wales find it difficult to compete with rivals across the Severn bridge, as they have to pay to return their trucks back to base, anyone east of the toll will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. As the UK remains a member of the European Union the goal should be for a single market, not a market distorted by government intervention.

3) The toll is a tax on British imports and exports. The A14 starts (or finishes depending on your point of view) in Felixstowe, home to Britain’s largest container port by teu volume. It is the sixth busiest port in Europe and the 34th busiest in the world, handling 3.4m teu containers in 2010 alone. These containers are primarily, although not exclusively, shipped onwards to Birmingham and the logistics triangle for decontainerisation. That means the primary container route traffic from the port in the UK is going along the A14 and right through the toll. And that equals a toll on container movements, and shippers finding alternatives to keep prices low.

There have been better ideas to encourage trade and commerce in the UK...



Please email the RHA to show your backing, and get one of these stickers for your trucks: campaigning@rha.uk.net