Home > News > Councils urge National Highways to ‘unblock Copdock’

Councils urge National Highways to ‘unblock Copdock’

Posted by Communications on 14 December 2021 | Comments

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have submitted a joint response to a consultation by National Highways on proposed improvements to the Copdock Interchange – urging the creation of a new link road to keep business traffic flowing freely.

The A14 junction 55 is a vital interchange for the region, linking the Port of Felixstowe with the Midlands and beyond via the M6 and M1, and Colchester, Chelmsford, London, the M25 and Stansted Airport to the south.

As part of an informal pre-application consultation on potential improvements to the junction, National Highways sought feedback on two possible options: either improving traffic flow by widening the existing carriageway and introducing left turn lanes, or slashing the volume of traffic using the junction by building a new link road for traffic travelling between the A12 (South) and A14 (East).

In their joint response, the councils back the new link road as the best way of tackling existing congestion and ensuring the efficient movement of goods from Freeport East, including Stowmarket’s Gateway 14 - helping to ensure national, regional, and local economic prosperity and delivering the greatest benefits to the districts’ communities and businesses.

However, of equal consideration to the councils is the environmental impact, with National Highways urged to ensure any proposals adequately address noise, light and air quality impacts on local residents, and align with Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils’ Biodiversity Action Plan – protecting and strengthening plant life and local wildlife in the districts.

Cllr Clive Arthey, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for Planning, said:

“The efficient operation of the Copdock Interchange is key to ensuring the flow of goods and services is maintained across our region. Unimpeded traffic movement between Felixstowe and the London/South East region is essential for the prosperity of Suffolk and would allow us to take a further step towards an integrated sea, road and rail infrastructure network.

“In the meantime, any improvement to the junction that stops traffic taking alternative routes via Old London Road and London Road, and the villages south of the A14, will improve the quality of life of our residents in those areas.”

Cllr David Burn, Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for Planning, said:                

“We have worked closely with National Highways in preparing our Joint Local Plan and we recognise the Copdock Interchange as critical infrastructure for our districts.  There is a clear need to focus on improvements to the A12 and A14 and the junction is also a key issue identified in Suffolk County Council’s Local Transport Plan.

“However, any development proposals will also need to adequately address the environmental impact on local residents, and we welcome further discussions to explore opportunities to secure benefits for our communities.”

National Highways is now collating and analysing responses before producing a consultation report and presenting its chosen option to the Department for Transport for consideration for funding.