Proposed East West Railway

Railway tracks.

Today (Friday) the government has announced an update on the proposed East West Railway. This is the first time that Bedford Borough Council has seen this update and we will now need to review the details of the proposals to better understand the implications for the people of Bedford Borough.

The East West Rail Company (EWR) undertook a consultation on its proposals for the route its railway will take through Bedford Borough in 2021.In its response to the 2021 consultation, the Council looked for an outcome that would capitalise upon the opportunities presented by EWR, whilst minimising potential environmental and community disruption dis-benefits.

Bedford Borough Council will now undertake a detailed review of the updated proposals to see how the potential benefits and dis-benefits have been affected by the chosen route. However, the Council has stated its disappointment that EWR was unable to provide a map that clearly details the selected route and the true extent of its impact.

Letters will be sent today (Friday) by EWR to local residents in the Poets area of Bedford, updating them on the details of this decision. The EWR engagement team will also be hosting a 'drop-in' on 13th June at Bedford Heights.  More details on how to book a slot at the event or a video call with the EWR land team are expected to be shared shortly.

The Council understands that the next stage of the project will be a statutory consultation on this announcement, which will not start until 2024. The intervening period will be used to understand the updated proposals and their impacts, test the evidence presented by EWR, and confirm the approach to be taken by the Council.

Mayor Tom Wootton said, “I’m appalled at the decision taken by East West Rail and the impact that it’s going to have on residents in Bedford town and the northern villages. Following the announcement, I will be working tirelessly to urge EWR to reconsider their decision and take into account the people that they are affecting. With a public consultation on the way, I pledge to use my voice to make sure that the people of our great borough are heard and accounted for.”