David Ruffley - MP for Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Needham Market

Hot Local Issues

The A14 and a greener environment

I am delighted that the vital Rookery Crossroads scheme is now complete after campaigning by 3 MPs, including myself, for two decades!

It will be important not only for road safety in the area but also for future business development. And I was delighted to celebrate the official opening.

Improved safety measures on the A14 and all of Suffolk’s roads have been a key priority for me since being elected in 1997.

The towns of Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket are forward looking areas and local people are always keen to see their infrastructure improving and congestion reduced.

But the Rookery Crossroads project has not been all sweetness and light. The taxpayers have every right to question the time delays and the spiralling costs that dogged the Highways Agency in this case.

I have been questioning why the work was completed six months late and reportedly £2 million over budget. I have also sought assurances that everything will be done to ensure future projects on Suffolk’s main trunk road, such as the proposed improvements to the Haughley bends, will be better managed, arrive on time and at their promised cost.

These safety improvements were vital to road safety. But when a project is completed six months late and well over budget questions have to be asked.

Easing the flow of traffic on the A14 is vital for local business but we must also look for greener alternatives that don’t just involve road travel. Do we all have to use the A14 so much?

The train is favoured by many, especially green minded people, who try not to use their cars. Train links with London, Cambridge and Ipswich to where many local people commute could be improved.

But there are other areas of our lives where we can make a difference.

The Chancellor’s Budget last week provides an incentive for people to use more environmentally friendly cars with lower greenhouse gas emissions.

In our own homes total demand for electricity would fall by 3.5% if every conventional light bulb in domestic households was replaced by an energy efficient one.

I have recently been asking local residents for their views on this issue through my online survey website at www.telldavidruffley.com.

The response I have received shows how much local people care about the environment. For example, nearly 9 out of 10 people have taken practical steps to improve the energy efficiency of their own home with more than three quarters of those who responded saying they used energy efficient light bulbs, only filled the kettle with enough water for their immediate needs and turned off the lights when they left the room.

These are easy tips for how we can all make a difference. In addition to this, the Energy Saving Trust website at www.est.org.uk has a number of easy-to-follow tips to help save energy and help prevent future climate change problems.

To build a sustainable environment we must put climate change and environmental policy at the heart of our agenda, not just an afterthought.

We’re all in this together, and we will never tackle the great challenges we face unless all of us – government, business, individuals and families – play a part.

I want to help secure the future prosperity of our area but also improve our quality of life.