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Ely Bypass - GCGP LEP Funded

Latest News on Ely Southern Bypass Growth Deal Project – Jan. 2018

Read the latest January 2018 update from Cambridge County Council and Volker Fitzpatrick on the construction of the Ely Southern Bypass, the largest Growth Deal project supported by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership. Jan. 2018 – Newsletter Update (Ely Bypass)

Ely Bypass - GCGP LEP Funded

Latest News on Ely Southern Bypass Growth Deal Project

Read the latest on news from Cambridge County Council and Volker Fitzpatrick on the construction of the Ely Southern Bypass, the largest Growth Deal project supported by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership. Nov.17 – Newsletter Update

Campaigners celebrate news that A14 improvements clear major hurdle

July 2012

Campaigners who have long called for vital improvements to the congestion hit A14 are celebrating following a Government announcement made today, Wednesday.

The Secretary of State for Transport has announced plans to improve the A14 between Milton and Huntingdon as part of a major drive on infrastructure investment.

This follows an effective campaign led by Cambridgeshire County Council which has succeeding in putting the A14 back into the Government’s committed programme of road improvements. This is a major step forward, and a real boost for business confidence across the area. The package of proposals announced today also includes further enhancements to the Felixstowe to Nuneaton rail freight line, which will help to reduce the amount of HGVs on the A14, and public transport enhancements to augment the success of the Busway and provide further alternatives to the car for local journeys.

The A14 is of national, regional and local importance and provides vital links from the east coast ports to the rest of the country. Improvement of the road is vital to support the world class Cambridgeshire economy that has the potential to create the growth that the country needs and help bring the UK out of recession.

The County Council and local MPs, working with the Local Enterprise Partnership and other local authorities along the A14 route, have campaigned hard for improvements following the cancellation, nearly two years ago of proposals to widen the road which were deemed too expensive. Improvement is vital for the local and national economies and to improve safety.

The A14 is one of the most frequent issues raised by businesses as needing improvement to facilitate economic growth and attract investment. It is a key corridor for housing and jobs growth, with Alconbury and Northstowe along its length – developments which are vital for the economic future of our area and will contribute significantly to the wider national economy.

The County Council has worked as part of the team with Government on the A14 Challenge and it is this hard work that has brought these proposals forward. The plans will deliver enhancements along the route of the A14 from Milton through to the A1 junctions, and, critically, will include a new alignment of the road to take it to the south of Huntingdon. Two new (untolled) roads are planned to be built in parallel to the current A14 immediately north of Cambridge for local use (one on each side of the current road). Meanwhile, the existing A14 carriageway will be upgraded through the removal of accesses and junctions, and improvements to junctions at the northern and southern ends. Whilst further work on the funding package is needed, it is expected that the scheme will be funded through a mixture of revenues from tolls on the road, central Government funding, and contributions from local authorities and LEPs.

Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Nick Clarke, said: “We have campaigned tirelessly for the scheme and, with local councils, the LEP and local MPs we persuaded Government to set up the A14 challenge. The announcement today about the major scheme that has resulted from that work is fantastic news for our area and the country as a whole: it will unlock the improvements so desperately needed for this congestion-blighted road and help deliver major improvements to its poor safety record. The A14 is one of the most important roads in the country, providing a key link with the east coast ports. It is also vital for the Cambridgeshire economy that has unrivalled potential to grow and create jobs if the right infrastructure is provided. We will continue to work closely with Government and keep up the pressure now to see these improvements delivered on the ground. The next steps will be to refine the proposals that have been announced today and move those as quickly as possible to a point where they can be built and opened.’

Mark Reeve, Interim Chair of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Secretary of State’s announcement on the A14 is a huge boost to business confidence throughout our LEP area and beyond. The problems of delay and unreliability stemming from the current undercapacity of the road is one of the biggest barriers to achieving our growth ambitions, and the LEP has worked hard to help move this project forward. This week’s census results show that Peterborough and Cambridge are among the five fastest growing cities in the UK, with Milton Keynes and Ipswich also in that top 5. The A14 improvements will provide a critical artery linking all four of those growing cities, as well as facilitating the huge growth potential of the east coast ports. We look forward to working with our fellow LEPs, local authority partners and Government to help deliver the scheme as soon as possible.”

Cllr Ray Manning, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “This announcement is excellent news for local residents and everyone who uses this major strategic route. The Government has listened to local campaigning by Cambridgeshire councils and we are very committed to working with all our partners as there is still a considerable amount of detail to be completed. We have always been very clear that any option must give local residents an alternative to using a toll road, and it is welcome news that the proposals put forward include plans for local routes for our residents. The upgrade of the A14 is vital to making sure we continue to have a strong local economy and this announcement will now make it feasible for us to seriously consider plans for the new homes needed, such as the proposed new town of Northstowe, to support jobs being created in the area.”

Councillor Jason Ablewhite, Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, said: “I am delighted that this announcement has been made today. The A14 is an extremely important route through Huntingdonshire. The measures announced by the DfT will help to make the road safer and to ease congestion. It is a vital link to aid our local economy and we have campaigned hard on this issue, I am very pleased to see that progress is being made. This is great news for the residents and businesses in our district and beyond.”

Tim Ward Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Planning and Climate Change, said: “The City Council welcomes that the Government has finally responded to the problems around the A14. It is good that it is a balanced announcement embracing our own longstanding calls to improve east-west rail freight traffic and emphasise public transport.

“We welcome improvements to the A14 particularly as these improve safety and reduce congestion. Tolling may be a valid way of enabling the A14 itself to be improved, but the City Council remains concerned, as it was with previous schemes, that changes to the A14 should not result in additional traffic and congestion within the city. This is a concern we expect to be defending stalwartly as the scheme gets detailed further.”

The A14 road improvement package includes:

• Widening of the Cambridge Northern Bypass between Milton and Girton and enhancement of the Girton Interchange;

• Provision of high standard roads for local traffic use running in parallel to an enhanced A14 carriageway between Girton and the area near the current Trinity Foot A14 junction;

• Construction of a bypass to the south of Huntingdon between the area near Trinity Foot and the A1, at both ends tying in with the existing A14.

Also announced today is Government support for a package of local public transport improvements which could include:

• Commercial express bus services between Peterborough and Cambridge;

• A new park & ride site at Alconbury;

• Park & ride bus services to Cambridge via the Busway;

• A new ‘Number 5’ local bus service from Bar Hill to Cambridge via Science Park and Cambridge Science Park station.

The Government has also identified a package of desirable rail investment that will include major improvements at Ely, Peterborough and Leicester, to enable more freight to be carried by rail between Felixstowe and Nuneaton. The Secretary of State has allocated £200m to the Strategic Freight Network to fund network enhancements of this kind at the request of the rail freight industry.

Discussions & News

Here is an archive of the LEP related news. Please note: The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP is no longer in operation. Find out more about The Business Board here.

MedTech Accelerator

Medtech Accelerator’s funding for NHS innovations hits £670k

A scheme designed to facilitate early stage development of Medtech innovations that meet previously unmet clinical needs within the NHS that the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership invested in, has received a boost after Essex County Council agreed to invest £500K

Medtech Accelerator, a joint venture with NHS innovation hub Health Enterprise East (HEE), has recently confirmed the outcome of its second round of funding. Figures reveal that a total of £670,000 has now been awarded by Medtech Accelerator to support innovation projects derived from within the NHS since the launch of Medtech Accelerator in 2016.

The news comes in the wake of an announcement that Medtech Accelerator has also been bolstered by an investment worth £500,000 from Essex County Council to support NHS innovation in the region.

Medtech Accelerator is a joint venture between the NHS and regional business partners, including Health Enterprise East (HEE), New Anglia and Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough (GCGP) Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), the Eastern Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and most recently Essex County Council.

The organisation supports innovators within the NHS at the earliest stages in the product development pathway, by offering funding as well as practical advice on commercialisation and regulatory issues to help ensure that medtech innovations that are inspired from the frontline of the NHS get to market as quickly as possible. The awards are aimed at supporting proof of concept work with the view to creating future spin-out companies that will be established across the region.

Including this latest round of funding, Medtech Accelerator has so far funded seven individual projects, with awards amounting to £670,000. One project within the portfolio has also allowed Medtech Accelerator to take its first equity holding in a spin-out company. Projects that have received financial backing to date range from an enhanced tissue ablation technology used in the treatment of tumours, to a safer technique for administering anaesthesia. This funding has brought innovators closer to selling and marketing their innovations, and given them access to guidance at crucial junctures on issues such as building and designing prototypes, preparing for CE-marking and conducting human study trials.

Commenting on the news, Dr Anne Blackwood, CEO of Health Enterprise East, said:

“Our experience at HEE has demonstrated that, with the right funding and guidance, innovative technologies can be successfully fast-tracked to market. Medtech Accelerator supports those clinicians and practitioners who understand where technological innovation is most needed and how best to deliver it, meaning that initial ideas can quickly turn into concrete products, to the benefit of patients in the UK and around the globe. We are thrilled that Essex County Council has chosen Medtech Accelerator for this significant investment, and can’t wait to see the projects currently being supported by Medtech Accelerator in use and making a vital difference in our hospitals. We’re also grateful to INVEST Essex who played a key role in facilitating Medtech Accelerator’s introductions to Essex County Council and bringing about their investment.”

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader at Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, said:

“Our investment in Medtech Accelerator is further evidence of our confidence in the potential of the life sciences and medtech sectors to drive economic growth in our region and across the UK. We are delighted to support a venture that will help commercialise pioneering medical innovations at the same time as creating jobs locally in Essex.” 

Funded Projects Include

Safer Injection System for Regional Anaesthesia (SAFIRA)
Award Amount:  £80,000

Bimodal Electric Tissue Ablation (BETA)
Award Amount:  £124,796

Helping Children with ‘Glue Ear’ to Hear
Award Amount: £16,000

Arterial GlucoSave
Award Amount:  £114,820

Bacteriophage-based Solution for the Treatment of Implant Related Infections
Award Amount: £84,420

Non-Contact, Sleep Apnoea Diagnostic Device
Award Amount:  £124,724

Endoluminal Vacuum Therapy Device (E-Vac) for the Management of Upper Gastrointestinal (UGI) Leaks
Award Amount:  £125,000

Record breaking 2017 for London Stansted

  • Busiest ever year with 25.9 million passengers, up 6.5%
  • Top growth in Spain, France and Denmark
  • Emirates to launch in June 2018 and airport transformation phase 1 underway

During 2017, the top five destination countries reporting the strongest growth by passenger volumes verses 2016 were Spain (+478,000), France (+382,000), Denmark (+281,000), Turkey (+222,000) and Bulgaria (+134,000).

The top five destination airports recording the largest increase in passenger numbers during the year were Copenhagen (+263,000), Oslo (+240,000), Hamburg (+180,000), Toulouse (+153,000) and Sofia (+137,000).

The number of passengers passing through the airport in December 2017 was slightly down (-1.2%) on the same month in 2016, largely due to the cancellation of over 300 flights during the period due to adverse weather conditions in the UK and across Europe. However, it was still the second busiest December on record with over 1.8 million passengers flying during the month.

Stansted Airport CEO, Ken O’Toole, said:

“The last year has been a very busy and exciting time at London Stansted with passenger numbers and the range of destinations directly available from the airport both reaching all-time highs.

“The positive passenger growth was driven by increased choice from many of our airline partners, particularly Ryanair who experienced another strong year, and the very successful opening of’s first base in the south of England back in March.

“In 2018, our aim is to continue growing our passenger numbers and provide even more choice, so we were absolutely delighted to announce just before Christmas that Emirates will begin operating a new service to Dubai from Stansted in June. This excellent addition to our route network comes on top of the very exciting news that Primera Air will also launch direct flights to New York, Boston and Toronto from April and May this year.

“These great successes are just the start, not the end, of our long-haul ambitions with more routes to the USA and new services to China and India key targets for us.

“As we are now serving more passengers than at any time in the airport’s history, it’s imperative that we plan how we can keep pace with demand and invest in developing quality, good value facilities to ensure we do all we can to enhance the passenger experience.

“Work is now underway on phase one of our £500 million airport transformation project which will add more check-in desks, extra seating and more car park spaces, and we will shortly submit a planning application to make best use of our existing runway capacity within current environmental limits to improve UK connectivity and support national and regional economic growth.”

Find out more about London Stansted Airport’s successes in 2017 and plans for 2018, in a blog post by Commercial Director Martin Jones:

This is what the A14 will look like when the roadworks are finished

Watch the latest video on the A14 upgrade showcasing what the road will look like once the improvements are completed.

Upgrade work is currently being carried out on the A14 between Ellington, west of Huntingdon, to the Milton junction on the Cambridge Northern Bypass. Includes widening the A1 between Brampton and Alconbury.




£1.5bn A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon upgrade marks its first year of construction

The UK’s biggest road construction project is marking its first full year of work.

21 miles of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon are being upgraded to three lanes in each direction including a brand new 17-mile bypass south of Huntingdon, with four lanes in each direction between Bar Hill and Girton. The project will add additional capacity, boost the local and national economy and cut up to 20 minutes off journeys.

The 2,200 strong construction team is keeping to the project’s challenging timetable, with the improvements on track to open to traffic by the end of 2020.

More than a quarter of the project’s main construction work has been successfully completed: a total of 3 million hours have been worked, and 2.5 million cubic metres of soil (equivalent to 1,000 Olympic swimming pools) have been moved into position to create foundations for the road and junctions.

34 bridges and structures are being built as part of the scheme including the new 750-metre long River Great Ouse viaduct. One is already open to traffic, and on the others nearly 750 major components have been built.

The Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership will be contributing £50m to the A14 project.

David Bray, A14 project director at Highways England, says:

“This is a huge amount of progress, and we are well on the way to transforming journeys on this vital link between East Anglia and the Midlands, connecting businesses, communities and families.

“The improvements we are delivering between Cambridge and Huntingdon are vital for the local area and for the country’s economy. We set out to deliver world leading infrastructure improvements a year ago and this is exactly what we have been doing so far.

“We’ve been using innovative ways of working to speed up construction such as making our own concrete building parts on-site and using temporary bridges to move construction materials across site without having to use the main roads.

“And we’ve done all this while looking after the environment alongside the project – we plan to have a positive impact by the time we finish – and giving local people opportunities to find out more, get involved or get funding for relevant projects.”

The project’s ecology team has already created three of the 18 wildlife habitats which will be built as part of the scheme, covering a total of 271 hectares of new habitat by the time the scheme is completed.

The A14 Community Fund has allocated more than £110,000 to 16 local projects over the past year. Examples include a project to help people who have been out of work for a while to gain skills to get them closer to employment by growing plant plugs and looking after the natural environment locally. Another project seeks to encourage people to create poems and other pieces of creative writing about the A14 as a road within the local community. More than 2,000 people are estimated to benefit from the community fund projects so far.

Some 22 apprentices and 44 graduates have been recruited into the project team and 19 students have done work experience with the team too. The project’s skills team has also attended 80 local career events and visited 30 schools to promote science, technology, engineering and maths and talked to young people about careers in civil engineering.

The archaeology team is also making good progress, with 200 archaeologists working across the scheme currently. More than 25 settlements have been uncovered so far, including Iron Age, Roman, Saxon and Medieval villages. All excavation work will be completed by summer 2018 and people will be able to find out more over the coming months.

And the mobile visitor centre has visited 32 towns or events and welcomed over 2,400 visitors to keep people updated about the scheme and opportunities.

David continues:

“It’s exciting to see the pace of progress on such a big project”

“Every day there is something new to see: new bridge columns, the layout for a new part of the road, a new balancing pond near a future junction – it’s all happening on a giant scale and there will be even more to see over the coming months.”

Plans for next year’s construction schedule include: work starting on the Bar Hill junction and the widening of the Cambridge northern bypass between Histon and Milton; opening the Grafham Road bridge over the A1, the first of the new Girton interchange bridges and the new A1 between Alconbury and Brampton to traffic; and continuing the construction of the bridges for the Swavesey junction, the River Great Ouse viaduct and the bridge over the east coast railway. The completion timings of all these activities are still indicative at this stage and dependent on weather and other factors.

David adds:

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the roads users and local residents who use or live near the A14 for their patience so far”

“We’re doing our very best to keep disruption to a minimum, which is no small feat when building 21 miles of new road – some of it around a very busy existing road – in record time!”

John Bridge OBE, chief executive of the Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce, comments:

“The biggest barrier to growth and economic success [in Cambridgeshire], is well on the road to being dealt with. The business community is really delighted to see progress at last on the A14 and in particular, the very positive way that the scheme is being developed. Whilst there are some short term challenges which can be expected in a construction scheme of this size, the significant long term benefits will far outweigh any short term inconvenience.”


Watch the latest video on the A14 upgrade showcasing what the road will look like once the improvements are completed.



Vital Ely Rail Upgrade Project “will definitely go ahead”, say Transport Minister

A delegation of MPs and officials from the East, met with Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling this week to urge him to commit to fund the Ely Junction Rail Upgrade project.

The MP has agreed to “push forward” in making improvements to the Ely North Junction a priority for this area, acknowledging the significance this project, a first of its kind for the UK, will have on local economic growth for the area.

This multimillion pound project has been unlocked thanks to a partnership commitment from the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough and New Anglia LEPs, alongside the Strategic Freight Network, to invest £8.8m into a feasibility study. The study will be carried out by Network Rail to determine the overall design and subsequent cost of the upgrade, and is a pre-requisite to securing funding from Government in the next funding round, known as Control Period Six, which runs from 2019 to 2024.

The Ely area sees five railway lines come together making it a very complex area to address. At the moment, an average six trains pass through the area hourly with an additional service every two hours. There is a need to significantly increase both freight and passenger capacity through the Ely area to support franchise commitments, future aspirations and local economic and housing growth.

The Secretary of State for Transport Rt Hon Chris Grayling made the commitment to fund the project, which he noted was a ‘top priority’ for the next funding period, at a meeting in Westminster. Among the delegates present were LEP Chairman Mark Reeve, the LEP’s Head of Communications & Connectivity Laura Welham-Halstead, alongside New Anglia LEP’s Doug Field and Managing Director Chris Starkie, Elizabeth Truss MP, George Freeman MP, Sir Henry Bellingham MP, Jo Churchill MP, representatives from the freight and passenger train operators, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council and Fenline Users Association.

Mark Reeve, Chairman of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, said:

“Improvements to the Ely North Junction are critical to unlock economic growth across not just our LEP area, but the whole of the East. We are therefore pleased to receive this unequivocal commitment of support from the Minister today who clearly understands the importance of this project. The next step is for the feasibility study, that we have co-funded, to get underway so we can push for the work to take place as soon as possible in the next funding period.”

South West Norfolk MP, Elizabeth Truss said of the outcome:

“The transport secretary Chris Grayling agreed with us that the Ely Area Enhancement Programme is a priority and he wants to push ahead in Control Period 6 (CP6) with the upgrade.
“This is fantastic news, we have been campaigning for years for this and it will definitely be going ahead.

“One of the key aspects is to ensure the scheme is properly costed by Network Rail and the LEPs agreed to provide every assistance with this. Once the costings are finalised this will determine when in CP6 work starts.

“I am delighted that the transport secretary fully understood all the points we raised and that he has given this commitment today to see the work done in CP6 2019-2024.

“This will be an incredible boost to the region and the UK as a whole, investing in key infrastructure that will really transform rail travel in Norfolk.”



Grant helps job-creating nursery investment

A Suffolk nursery is investing in growing its own business, with the help of a grant from The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative.

Howard Nurseries is a wholesale supplier of plants to garden centres, garden designers and local authorities in the UK and abroad, counting Sandringham Flower Show among its clients and achieving a gold award at the  2015 Chelsea Flower Show.

It produces more than two million plants a year in more than 1,500 different varieties from its 170-acre site at Wortham near Diss.

The next stage in the company’s expansion involves taking plant label printing in-house, enabling the nursery to produce bespoke labels for customers.

The project cost of £60,000 has been reached thanks to a £15,000 growth grant from The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative, helping pay for a new professional printer and associated training.

The new technology replaces Howard’s current labelling system that is deemed as old fashioned and in recent years has resulted in the loss of potential new customers. It also avoids having to outsource to Europe for expensive professional plant labels.

Christine Howard, director of Howard Nurseries, said: “It was a two-year project and quite daunting at first, but we’re really pleased we went for it.

“So far this season we’ve really started to see the results – increased orders from customers, some good feedback, and it’s helping promote the Nursery and Suffolk generally.”

Mark Reeve, chairman of the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative Board and Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, added: “The labelling project presented by Howard Nurseries demonstrates the opportunity to support significant local business growth that will create new jobs and protect existing employment.”

The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative is run by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with support from New Anglia LEP, Norfolk County Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, and the local authorities covering this area.


Story by Laurence Kilgannon, Digital News Editor – Insider Media: