Partnership chair reacts to Spending Review 2021

Cllr Steven Broadbent, Chair of the East West Main Line Partnership, said: “Government investment in East West Rail between Oxford and Bletchley means the first stage of this transformative scheme is due to open in 2025. The Spending Review was an opportunity to restate government’s commitment to East West Rail’s next phases of development, however we now await details of the Department for Transport’s three-year settlement in due course. This must include appropriate funding to ensure momentum continues on East West Railway Company’s development of the line eastwards to Cambridge, which government has consistently said would be delivered by 2030.

“We also require immediate clarity on the government’s plans for the Aylesbury to Milton Keynes link which has always been an integral and long-standing element of East West Rail, and which is required to enable major levels of planned housing growth. Uncertainty over its delivery has significant implications for the region and Aylesbury in particular, which is taking on major levels of new housing, but where poor rail and road connectivity is having an adverse impact on residents and businesses, air quality and efforts to decarbonise the transport system.

“The Partnership will work with the region’s sub-national transport body, England’s Economic Heartland, and other partners, in order to make the strongest case for East West Rail’s delivery in full at the earliest opportunity.

“Delivered in full, the East West Main Line will be transformative for the UK, supporting sustainable economic and housing growth along one of the most exciting innovation corridors in the world. It will raise productivity levels, allowing the wider region to compete against our international competitors on behalf of Global Britain. It will unlock opportunities for our local residents, while helping to fund levelling up nationally. And it will provide a realistic alternative to the car, reducing emissions and supporting net zero.”