East West Rail starts its 10-week consultation today on the emerging proposals for route alignments. The final decision will be taken by the Department for Transport as this is a national infrastructure project.
We have always been supportive of the need for a strategic railway line from Oxford. It has the potential to be a new green strategic route that improves links with other parts of the country and helps change the focus of the railway network away from London. In conjunction with the new Cambridge South station, it will allow the sustainable expansion of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.
However, residents have been concerned about the impact of the potential route options. So are we. This non-statutory consultation had been expected by the end of 2020 and thousands of villagers across the district have now had over a year living with this uncertainty hanging over their heads. Part of the delay was caused by the pressure to include an additional route in the consultation. MP Anthony Browne wrote multiple letters to EWR and lobbied the Minister for Transport to insist that a Northern route should be considered from Cambourne cutting between Oakington, Milton and Cambridge North station, a position he took with no consideration of residents living in the northern villages. We ask whether MP Lucy Frazer represented her constituency during this lobbying?
EWR provides reasons as to why such a northern route is not included in this consultation.
Mayoral candidate Aidan Van de Weyer is absolutely right that EWR must listen to residents and build a line that brings benefits to the whole region, undertake full environmental impact assessment of the options and ensure that the rail is zero carbon from the outset and that no diesel trains should be allowed to use it. Otherwise, we are building in long-term carbon emissions and going against the recommendations of Network Rail’s own new decarbonisation strategy.
You can find details of the consultation here: