I am writing to raise my concerns about the proposed route E going north of Bedford. The issues are almost to plentiful to go into in one email, however, in short SOME of the issues I have as a resident who will be affected by this route (along with my young family and countless other people) are as follows- 1) The consultation process has been HEAVILY flawed and the results have been heavily twisted in order to suit the purpose of route E being favoured. The meetings, supposed postcards, and any other communication have ‘conveniently’ missed the majority of the residents that this route will have an impact on, and therefore was not where near fit for purpose and should be repeated. 2) The route is advertised as the ‘most cost effective’..... this would be because it is the only route that has been looked at my external contractors to reduce the apparent costs as much as possible. If the same was done for ALL routes, as would be fair and transparent, I highly doubt this would be the case. 3) the environmental impact of this route is devastating. It is named as the route with the least impact environmentally.... when it goes through one of the only untouched green belts of countryside around Bedford, that was publicised as protected not too long ago..... and is home to ancient woodlands, numerous species of bird, badgers, foxes, and a plethora of other species. The fact that the route will potentially be a diesel freight route is also a massive environmental issue for the area. 4) the route potentially passes closely to a large number of residential areas such as Brickhill,Wilden, Renhold, Roxton, Ravensden and rural areas of Clapham, all of which were chosen by people because of the countryside and peace and quiet that this route would heavily impact. The residents have paid a premium for these elements, and were under the impression they were safe due to the protected nature of the belt. The route will directly negatively impact on peoples lives and finances, and without appropriate consultation at all (please see point one). 5) The route passes through one of the only hilly areas surrounding the town, which will either be cut into, use additional diesel due to the gradient, or have to work around (potentially taking it closer to the residents, costing more, and/or becoming even more indirect) There are several other issues with the process and proposed route, and as a mother who has recently moved to the area (due to having no idea about these plans), especially to being my family up surrounded by peace and natural beauty, I whole heartedly oppose this route and hope you will look into the matter further.
Thank you for your e-mail on the 3rd March 2021 in relation to the proposed East West Rail project. An application for this project has not yet been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate (the Inspectorate). With regards to the proposed Bedford to Cambridge route, the Inspectorate understands that the Applicant ‘East West Railway Company’ (EWR), is currently undertaking detailed design work to define the preferred alignment of the tracks, following a non-statutory consultation in 2019. The Inspectorate also understands that EWR will be holding a further non-statutory consultation exercise in 2021. EWR will then conduct a statutory pre-application consultation in advance of submitting their application to the Inspectorate. The purpose of the statutory pre-application stage is to allow the developer to consult on their proposals so that they can be shaped with the input of communities and others before being finalised and submitted as an application. As the project is still at the pre-application stage, I would strongly encourage you to contact the Applicant directly with regard to your concerns, as they have a statutory duty to have regard to all consultation responses, which should be demonstrated in the Consultation Report as part of their DCO application. If you feel your comments are not being taken into account, I would advise you to also write to your local authority and set out why you think the Applicant is failing to conduct its consultation properly. Your comments will be considered by the local authority when sending the Inspectorate its representations on whether the Applicant has fulfilled its consultation duties which will be taken into account when deciding whether the application can be accepted for Examination. The Applicant can be reached in the following ways: By email: [email protected] By phone: 0330 1340067 By post: FREEPOST East West Rail The Planning Inspectorate has produced several Advice Notes to help provide an overview of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) process and the opportunities to get involved. They are available at the following link: [attachment 1] The following are particularly relevant: Advice Note 8: ‘Overview of the nationally significant infrastructure planning process for members of the public and others’. Advice Note 8.1: ‘Responding to the developer’s pre-application consultation’ Advice Note 8.2: ‘How to register to participate in an Examination’. Please be assured that anyone interested in the proposed developments, their potential impacts and any planning matters can be fully engaged in the examination process. Please note, in accordance with Section 51 of the PA2008, a summary of your query and our advice will be published on the project’s webpage of the National Infrastructure Website. I hope you find the above information useful.
09 March 2021