Letters: Make your views on EWR known to the Planning Inspectorate

EWR map consultation

Dear editor,

As part of his budget statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said that works on the Bletchley to Bedford section of EWR would be brought forward, supported by £240m from existing budgets to allow services from Oxford to Bedford to run by 2030.

On the day after the budget, the Rail Minister, Hugh Merriman clad in a High Visibility orange suit and a white helmet was seen in Bletchley tightening a large screw in the last rail of the newly restored Biscester to Bletchley section of East West Rail.

He said he was “really happy” and “incredibly proud” to see the railway “return to life”. He, or his successor, is not, however, the arbiter of the next stage.

The initiative has now passed to the Planning Inspectorate, who are now responsible for reviewing all major infrastructure proposals.

The enquiry into the route from Bedford to Cambridge is due to take place in Milton Keynes under the new National Strategic Infrastructure Programme process – which replaces the old Transport and Works Act regulations where the decision to proceed was made by Secretary of State for Transport.

Integral to taking part in that process is the pre-registration of stakeholders. Registration will be open for thirty days and the pre-examination phase will take about three months.

The Planning Inspectorate has issued detailed guidance on their role and how to register here.

They have clear rules of conduct as to what can and cannot be included in your evidence. Respondents should try to be crisp, clear, and concise.

They specifically, caution against vexatious or frivolous comments – essentially this points you towards playing the ball/route not the man/EWR. You don’t have to be a technical expert to make representations. In particular, the Planning Inspectorate stress how you think the project may affect your day-to-day life is a matter of interest.

Bob Robinson

Editor’s note: While Mr Robinson lives outside of our geographical patch (Bedford Borough), the subject matter is of relevance to our readers so we took the decision to publish his letter.

Letters published do not reflect the views of the Bedford Independent. If you
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