As the CBRR petition passes 6400, pressure is increasing on EWR Co. to openly review the northern approach to Cambridge. They do seem to be uniting opinion in many parts of South Cambridgeshire that this north south consultation needs to happen. Here is a survey of some recent news on this.
Anthony Browne MP
Anthony Brown MP published this letter to residents on Friday 5th February 2021. Note in particular this paragraph.
“I have heard the arguments in favour of the northern approach option and find them persuasive. I certainly think that it warrants full consideration, and that the public should have a say on this option. I cannot say whether a northern or southern approach will be best for EWR. That is a decision that must be made by EWR depending on the evidence, detailed scoping work and outcome of public consultations. My aim is to ensure that both the northern and southern options are properly considered and consulted on. This will not only ensure that the best decision can be made, but also that the public can have confidence in the process. “
CA are currently working with Anthony Browne’s office on this common objective.
BCN Wildlife Trust
On the 9th February 2021, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust (BCN WT) re-affirmed its support for a northern approach to Cambridge here. They are still asking why a Strategic Environmental Assessment has never been performed (beyond the trite and bizarre reason that EWR Co. do not consider themselves under a legal obligation to do so because they have no programme or plan).
The result of this omission is that while the BCN WT, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and even Natural England are all indicated in their consultation responses that a northern route would be better for the environment, EWR Co. are asserting with little or no evidence that Option E is better.
Is this a good way to spend £6.5billion of taxpayers money? Cambridge deserves to be treated better than this.
We are rather hoping that when the petition is circulated to the 34,000 BCN WT members, then some more people will become aware of the issue and sign it.
Cambourne Town Council
At a recent meeting of some northern parishes in Anthony Browne’s constituency, the chairman, Joe O’Dwyer, affirmed his support for an EWR route into Cambridge North. He also reported that the new Programme Delivery Director at EWR Co. had said “there were no technical or cost reasons not to approach Cambridge from the north”. This is a very sensible statement.
But it is rather in contrast to the now rather discredited rebuttal of the CBRR route in §16 of EWR Co.s Route Option Report. This is the report that talks about trains having to turn around in Cambridge and additional costs. Both claims have been dismissed on this blog and elsewhere more than once and many times to EWR Co. for a long time, but they don’t change the record.
Trouble in Bedford
The good people of Bedford have successfully petitioned their council to debate the route of EWR. Like us they have realised the possibility of freight trains rumbling through central Bedford at night and are not happy at the prospect. Here is a report on the debate held there earlier in the week. They have also noticed that while Option E was the most expensive at the time of the 2019 consultation, it became the second cheapest in the 2020 Route Option Report. Maybe they have been reading this post.