News and Research

EWR Route E Will Cause Irreversible Damage to Town and Countryside

The EWR Proposal is NOT fit for purpose

  • Fails to provide electrified rail transport from the inception
  • Fails to provide transparent analysis of environmental impacts for the railway construction and operation, including the quantum of embodied  carbon
  • Fails to adequately define how an acceptable level of economic growth will be achieved for Bedford
  • Fails to define multi-modal transport plans for local communities to access EWR stations from their catchment areas

New Petition Launched Calling for an Independent Review of EWR Project

BFARe and Cambridge Approaches have created a new petition asking government to “Pause plans for Oxford-Cambridge rail link pending a full, independent review” of the East West Rail project.

The petition states “We do not want the Oxford-Cambridge rail link as described in the East West Rail Company’s Route Update Announcement and subsequent refinements. We call for these plans to be paused and for a full, transparent and independent review.”

Please join us and sign this petition.

Bedford Blight Serves the East West Rail Project

Bedford is the only town on the East West Rail line that will see major construction upend an existing historic town centre. Bedford already suffers constricted traffic flows which results in high pollution levels from the stationery and slow-moving traffic. The route through Bedford will destroy homes and businesses, disrupt residents’ quality of life, and have a major impact on the town’s environmental health.

BFARe has produced a more detailed report on how the EWR construction project will blight town and countryside. Please see this link for more detailed information.

Below you will see our content to assist the new distribution of our flyer (image below).

Irreversible Changes to Town and Countryside

Residents of Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire will suffer:

  • Significant, permanent alterations to our countryside landscape and the loss or severance of Public Rights of Way
  • Demolitions to property, loss of prime agricultural land and the re-construction of major transport routes and bridges
  • Relocation with probable net loss of vital Bedford hospital parking facilities
  • Very high levels of construction traffic in town and on countryside roads
  • Loss of ancient woodlands and wildlife
  • Unbridled greenfield housing development without the necessary services and road infrastructure to support the new communities
  • Destruction of biodiversity that will not be recovered in our lifetime

The Construction Impact

The East West Rail construction process will blight all residents. 

  • The first 8km from Bedford Midland Station will require a 1.1km viaduct over the Clapham flood plain, Paula Radclife Way and Clapham Road then mainly cuttings up to 14m deep and 122m wide over successive hills with little opportunity for spoil balancing embankments over this section or beyond. Disposal off-site of 2.97 MILLION TONNES of surplus spoil without rail assistance will require 185,000+ HGV arrivals and departures between the public roads and the project boundary.
  • The proposed EWR ‘Tempsford Variant’ will require embankments from Colesden rising to the start of a 3.6km viaduct up to 13m high to span the A421, Bedford Rd, A1, River Great Ouse and Barford Rd leading to a new Tempsford Station elevated above the East Coast Main Line and beyond.
  • Reconstruction of critical town centre infrastructure including rebuilding three main bridges
  • Homes / Farms / Businesses demolished, impacted by blight, construction noise and vibration
  • Damage to countryside roads from earth removal lorries and construction traffic
  • Permanent and damaging change to countryside landscape
  • Permanent loss or relocation of public rights of way
  • Construction traffic adding to existing high levels of Bedford Town congestion and pollution

Poor Community Engagement

  • We have all suffered greatly from the poor, unprofessional and disingenuous EWR Co. project management and communication with our local communities.
  • The outgoing EWR CEO recently stated that local communication “is something that is extremely important.”
  • The Local Representative Group (LRG) and other meetings are  most of all ‘tick-box’ exercises for EWR. 
  • They refuse to provide a business case despite being repeatedly asked.
  • They sidestep or fail to answer questions on how their travel times between Bedford and Cambridge omit the cost of the ‘first and last mile’ in both time and money  
  • There is a continuous rotation of key post staff.  None of their LRG ‘team’ are from the original meetings
  • Where EWR SMEs are offered up they are clearly under the corporate cosh to toe the EWRCo party line
  • A vast amount of information is concealed from the public and their elected representatives  
  • Questions are not answered at the meetings unless they are simple and of low consequence anything of consequence it taken away for a company view to be determined

Further Greenfield Housing Developments

Housing development in Bedford Borough is already 2.5 times higher than the rest of the country. Yet unbridled greenfield housing development is being used to justify the very high £8B+ taxpayer cost of East West Rail. 

Bedford Borough simply does not have the hospital capacity, schools, doctor’s surgeries, facilities and the supporting greenfield road networks to support the level of proposed housing attributed to the East West Rail project.

EWR Statutory Consultation

East West Rail Co is holding a series of public events concerning the upcoming Route E Statutory Consultation (SC) and eventual Development Control Order (DCO) processes.  The only event being held in north-east Bedfordshire is on Monday May 20 at Roxton Village Hall from 14:00-19:00. 

If you wish to be informed and/or take part in the SC process, you can register your interest at for newsletter updates and separately learn how to become an Interested Party with speaking rights at the ensuing DCO process, follow the links at the end.

For further information

BFARe Press Office

Rachel Duke (BFARe)

BFARe is a Limited company. Company number: 13332104, Reg Address: Union House, 111 New Union Street, Coventry, West Midlands, CV1 2NT, United Kingdom

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