Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Environmental groups call for the Ox-Cam Expressway to be scrapped

Friday, 28 February 2020 16:04

Ox-Cam corridor Ox-Cam corridor 5th Studio

CPRE and the Wildlife Trusts have called on the government to abandon the proposed Oxford-to-Cambridge (Ox-Cam) Expressway.

In a letter to Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, the groups detail the potential damage from the increased traffic associated with the new road, and from the development planned in its wake. Plans for the Ox-Cam corridor include the building of one million new homes in the area between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge by 2050.

The letter highlights likely increases in air, light and noise pollution, as well as countryside loss. The authors say that there are already high levels of air pollution in Cambridge, Oxford and Bedford. 

Both groups support the government’s plans to develop an East West Rail (EWR) for the corridor, however. As an example, they recommend restoring train services from Cambridge to Haverhill/Sudbury and to Wisbech. These services would help to regenerate those towns, they say, and also reduce road traffic in Cambridge.

Update, 3 March 2020

The government have responded to the joint CPRE/Wildlife Trusts letter on the Ox-Cam expressway. In her response, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, the Transport Minister for Roads, Buses and Places, said that the government is currently deciding ‘whether the project should continue in due course’.

In the letter, Baroness Vere welcomes our support for the East West Rail Line and says that options for part or full electrification of the rail line are being considered. The proposed East West rail line will re-establish a rail link between Cambridge and Oxford. 

Branch chairman Alan James said that an East West rail route needs to provide integrated public transport for Cambridge. In addition, he said he would like to see the re-opening of the March-to-Wisbech line. He also supports a Colne Valley railway line with a route between Cambridge, Haverhill and Sudbury and onward into London via Colchester. 

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