Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, is leading a debate this afternoon in the House of Commons [09/05/2019] on the A14 upgrade and the diversions which are not being enforced, meaning that HGVs drive through the city instead, giving Cambridge residents sleepless nights, asthma attacks, and even damage to homes.
Mr Zeichner told the Transport Minister “ To paraphrase the Prime Minister – nothing has changed. This is because, frankly, the problems outlined almost a year ago have not been rectified, and the misery goes on.“
He went on to say that “ These overnight road closures which began to cause trucks to drive through the city’s small roads started around a year ago, and were unrelenting from the start. A year on, my constituents still face grim traffic, sleepless nights, and even damage to their property. In the debate last year, the Minister promised a ‘step change in diversions in September’ – my first specific question to the Minister today is to ask what happened to that ‘step change’ – and what can we expect over the next few months?“
“ I was told by my constituent and local campaigner Doug Whyte, that “There are already pot-holes and crumbling road surfaces on the roads that have been used by the lorries.”
“Another pointed out that the council’s road improvements will turn out to be “a total waste of our money, as it will all be churned up by the HGVs again” – the mismanagement of the diversions will affect the work done by councils to improve their local areas, while costing taxpayers extra.“
“ A huge and impressive £2 billion project is being spoiled frankly, because our public services around the project are now so fragmented and under-resourced that they are unable to do what would be necessary to make any diversions work. The main problem is that with so many authorities potentially involved it is very unclear who leads or take responsibility. We have a Combined Authority that has strategic responsibilities, we have a woefully under-resourced County Council that has responsibility for local roads, we have a metro mayor and a Police and Crime Commissioner, we have the local police, and we have Highways England“
He called for “ the Minister to focus […] how we provide a disincentive for people to take the short-cut“ and to “commit to properly resourcing a framework to ensure that HGVs follow the proper diversions“. Daniel Zeichner MP has a further meeting with Jesse Norman MP, the Roads Minister, on Monday 13th May.
Mr Zeichner comments: “This has gone on long enough. Cambridge residents are having their lives made a misery because the Government has failed to take responsibility for its fragmented way of running huge infrastructure projects, with each organisation involved blaming each other, and for its reckless running down of public services like policing, which are key for making these projects a success. I hope my meeting with the Minister on Monday results in tangible change, but I’m not optimistic considering that over the last year, to coin the Prime Minister’s phrase, ‘nothing has changed‘. One constituent told me that she has cracking to the ceilings in her house because of the impact of the HGVs – it’s outrageous that residents are suffering in this way!“