Following East West Rail's recent alignment announcement, Richard met with representatives from affected Parish Councils, Bedford Borough Council, local campaign groups and the newly elected Bedford Mayor.
Richard Fuller MP said:
I met with representatives along the proposed route to discuss next steps in our opposition to EWR's decision. The discussion highlighted some useful information and suggestions which will be developed and actioned in coming weeks.
In the same week, Richard also had an hour long call with East West Rail CEO, Beth West, as part of her post announcement engagement with local councillors, MPs and others in the affected areas.
Given that we have very different perspectives on the project as a whole, we focussed on some specific questions.
I advised her that local residents would want clearer maps to see properly how they may be affected. I asked about Tempsford – both the station (yes it will be an interchange station) and her understanding of the new development there. We discussed pressure for additional housing in North Bedfordshire as a consequence of this railway and I got some (some) reassurance. I asked about her appraisal of alternatives – as outlined in their technical appendix – and of the status of traction whether diesel or electric.
This was, of course, a constructive and business like meeting and one not aimed at changing minds. I will be following up later this month with more detailed questions on the business case and their review of greener, more modern alternatives.
Richard has also secured a Westminster Hall debate at 2.30pm on Tuesday 13 June to highlight the flaws in the underlying rationale for East West Rail, and to continue to push the argument that better, greener alternatives exist to deliver the growth that EWR purports to enable.
Westminster Hall debates are effective mechanisms for challenging government Ministers and Richard will be laying out his arguments on Tuesday.
The debate is scheduled to start at 2.30pm on Tuesday and can be watched on the Westminster Hall channel on Parliament TV using the following link: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Guide