14 February 2012

A major summit, being held later this month, will explore how funding opportunities for one of the UK’s most significant trade routes, the A14, which runs between the Port of Felixstowe and the Catthorpe Interchange, the junction of the M1 and M6 motorways near Rugby, could maximise economic growth now and in the future.

Organised by Northamptonshire County Council and Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, the conference will bring together representatives from the Department for Transport as well as major UK logistics firms to discuss plans for future development of the road, with a focus on how it can support the growth of both the local and national economies.

The logistics sector is one of the three strategic growth industries identified by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership. One of the principal objectives is to raise the profile of the A14 so that it is recognised as a European priority route and to work with the Government and the EU to attract further investment.

Cllr Jim Harker, Leader of the county council, said: “The A14 is one of the most vital east-west routes in the UK and not only of national importance but of international significance with its connections to Europe.

“Estimates suggest that congestion on the A14 costs the Northamptonshire economy scores of millions of pounds each year and regionally this figure would be significantly higher.

“This summit will provide us with a cohesive plan from which to move forward and give clarity when presenting our case nationally and in a European forum to gain the funding to bring about the improvements necessary.

“Conditions along the A14 have continued to deteriorate and we have a situation where the road is no longer fit for purpose.

“Recently there have been a number of announcements regarding improvements to the road and this is welcomed. However, these proposals look at the A14 in isolation rather than factoring in connector routes in the region.”

Paul Southworth, Chairman of Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, said: “The A14 plays an important role within the operations of many businesses across the county, in particular the vast number of transport and logistics companies that are based within the area. It is therefore, essential that any consultation on future improvements to the A14 considers the voices of those businesses. At the Summit we are bringing together leading industry figures and public sector bodies to ensure developments to this route meet the needs of this growing industry sector.”

At the summit stakeholders from the counties along the A14 route including Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have also been invited as well as representatives from businesses and developers to ensure the widest possible views are represented. Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership and Northamptonshire County Council will be working together to present the outcomes of the event back to the Government’s A14 Challenge.

Cllr Russell Roberts, Leader of Kettering Borough Council, said: “I am very pleased that the county council is playing a key role in this initiative and that Kettering will be the venue for the seminar.”

The summit will take place at Kettering Conference Centre on Tuesday, February 28, between 9.30am and 2pm.