Campaigners, who had opposed planning for a new section of the East West Rail (EWR) line, have said they are relieved after the announcement today by the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Schapps, that route E was the preferred route for the Bedford to Cambridge section.
Campaigners from CamBedRailRoad (CBRR), a community-based think tank led by two distinguished transport infrastructure Civil Engineers, believe that the route selection should minimise the impact on the environment and protected habitats and wildlife, such as those to the south of Cambridge, surrounding the Wimpole Hall Estate. CBRR have welcomed the rejection of the more environmentally harmful routes to the south but will await details of the final route alignment before supporting the decision.
CBBR made submissions in 2019, during the consultation period, over the selection of a route so that it would serve current and proposed population centres and provide fast and sustainable local transport options, whilst protecting the environment. CBRR were represented by Leigh Day who advised the group on potential legal grounds should a route be selected that would blight the countryside unnecessarily.
Carol Day and Lewis Hadler from law firm Leigh Day assisted the group. Speaking after the announcement Carol Day said:
“We are delighted to have assisted in this successful campaign against the most harmful route options. The lack of assessment of the environmental impacts of the southern routes left those options open to potential legal challenge. The selection of a route that did not risk adverse effects on the Wimpole and Eversden Special Area of Conservation will be a relief for many local residents. However, the campaign continues for a final route that would maximise sustainability whilst minimising environmental damage.”