12 September 2018

Today (September 12), Government announced its preferred corridor for the Oxford to Cambridge expressway section between Oxford and Milton Keynes. This is Corridor B, close to the East West Rail link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/corridor-announced-to-unlock-full-potential-of-englands-economic-heartland

Giving his reaction, Mayor Dave Hodgson, chairman of England's Economic Heartland's Strategic Transport Forum, said: "We welcome this announcement by Government, as it provides the basis for moving forward with more detailed proposals and begins to give clarity to our partners working on their growth plans. The expressway is a complex and sensitive issue and it is critical that there is now detailed consideration of the route, led by strong evidence and meaningful engagement.

"In parallel to this work, England's Economic Heartland is leading on a connectivity study so that communities not within the expressway corridor can still benefit from it.  We are working to commission this study later this autumn in order that its output is available next summer.

It is vital that infrastructure which supports economic and housing growth also benefits existing residents and mitigates its impact on the environment – aspiring to the National Infrastructure Commission's aim of 'net betterment'.

It is equally vital that planned investment is delivered on schedule. The recent announcement of a 2-year delay to the delivery of the much needed A428 improvement between the Black Cat and Caxton Gibbet – which forms part of the 'expressway' between Bedford and Cambridge – was extremely disappointing. This scheme is a litmus test of how confident our residents and businesses can be in Government ensuring investment is delivered on time. Without that, it becomes much harder for our local communities to support additional growth across the corridor."

Our Strategic Transport Forum, which meets in public in Milton Keynes on Friday, September 21, is an ideal opportunity for our partners to explore the implications of today's announcement."