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Chambers East says lack of investment in the region’s railways is holding back business growth





Four of the region's leading business organisations have come together to call for more spending on the area's rail network.

Suffolk, Essex, Cambridge and Norfolk Chambers of Commerce have provided evidence about how the lack of investment in the region’s railways is holding back business growth in the region.

Operating together as Chambers East, the Chambers worked with Transport East to prepare its recently published 'State of Rail Report' which sets out the current picture for rail across the East.

Chambers East calls for regional rail investment. Picture: iStock
Chambers East calls for regional rail investment. Picture: iStock

It identified areas of weakness and where future improvements could be focused and was launched at the House of Commons in the presence of the rail minister, Huw Merriman MP.

Vic Annells, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce said: "The East Anglian Chambers are pleased that the State of Rail Report highlights the need for improvements at Ely and Haughley.

"Improvements will remove bottlenecks and provide better passenger services to the North and South as well as to the East and West."

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce said: "Improvements at Ely and Haughley will mean that more freight from Felixstowe can go by rail rather than road.

"A reduction in HGV traffic on the A14 and A12 will help us achieve net zero goals."

Nova Fairbank, chief executive of Norfolk Chambers of Commerce spoke at the event and said: "The rail network in the East plays an important part in driving the regional economy – connecting the region’s fastest growing centres with each other.

"For those of us who live and work in the East, we know how special our region is, however for anyone in business, it is not without its challenges.

"The East is home to Britain’s largest and busiest container port at Felixstowe – yet the rail links to enable easy access for freight are hugely constrained. With the right investment, the region could see 170,000 new jobs in the next 20 years."

Denise Rossiter, chief executive of Essex Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the State of Rail report: "We are very pleased that Transport East has worked with us on this report. Chambers of commerce have many thousands of members across East Anglia and we are the voice of business in the region."