Richard Fuller MP has secured a Parliamentary Adjournment Debate on East West Rail’s Route Selection Process: Will Mohammad Yasin MP Attend the Debate and Support the Request for a Re-Consultation?
BFARe’s Chairman, Mike Barlow, has written to MP Yasin to request his attendance at an Adjournment Debate on June 28th regarding the East West Rail consultation process.
Dear Mr Yasin,
I write as Chair of BFARe – Bedford for a Re-Consultation, which, as you know a significant number of your constituents are supportive of.
We have been made aware that Richard Fuller, MP will be bringing an Adjournment Debate on Monday 28th 2021 regarding the inadequacies of the East West Rail Company consultation and decision-making processes.
We are aware of your support of a route through Bedford Midland and to the North of Bedford. However, regardless of which route anyone prefers, this debate goes to the very heart of our concerns, in that the process that EWR have driven so far is insufficiently robust to underpin such a significant decision that impacts so many peoples’ homes, lives and businesses.
Mr Fuller, as I am sure you are aware, maintains a position of Route selection neutrality.
I write to urge you to support Mr Fuller in his efforts to drive the Minister and Secretary of State for Transport to compel East West Rail to re-run the Route selection. This is for the sake of fairness to all the constituents of both Bedford & Kempston and North-East Bedfordshire constituencies.
The consultation decisions should be based on open, transparent and objectively scored criteria including.
- A full comparative environmental and sustainability impact assessment for the investment, including the embedded and lifetime carbon costs of each alternative
- Full comparative traffic impact, noise and air quality assessments
- Transparency on freight usage, freight industry demand projections and full freight capability
- Full comparative cost-benefit studies including the economic impact of the 5-10 years of disruption during the construction period
- Full transparency on property acquisitions, demolitions, bridge rebuilding, road remodelling, and relocations, and an outline construction methodology for each route
- Full transparency on comparative cost information at all stages of the consultation
I attach three letters with more substantiation of this:
- The BFARe response to the 2021 consultation which outlines the arguments in full.
- A challenge to an FOI refusal outlining why it is in the public interest to expose cost information for Bedford in the 2021 consultation.
- A letter from Andrew Blowers, OBE, Emeritus Professor of Social Sciences at the Open University, former County Councillor and Chair of the Environment Committee and one of your constituents.
Despite what East West Rail have said in the media, they have not:
- Offered full cost information to explain how the costs estimates for Route E remained the same while all other routes increased by a factor of 50%-80% between
2019 – 2020.
- Offer any cost information in 2021 for the Bedford section – meaning that no meaningful comparison can be made of relative cost information – we believe this is deliberate to hide the increased costs due to engineering complexities at the Clapham Turnout, the potential of demolitions, or the engineering requirements to avoid them.
- Performed a comparative environmental study of the routes at a stage when it will inform the route selection.
Further to this, EWR are evasive on the route selection decision making. They talk about 15 criteria on which the decision was made, and selected 5 core criteria. But admit that there was no formal objective scoring of any of these (despite referring the Route E “scoring” high in the 5 criteria). Rather the decision was made SUBJECTIVELY on a “balance of factors” across the criteria. This is not a basis to inform such a critical decision that will cause so much devastation.
Therefore, we are asking you to stand up and be counted, to stand shoulder to shoulder with Mr Fuller to challenge for a fair, transparent and reconsultation of the Route selection that reflects a decision making process we can all get behind, regardless of our own preferences of Route selection.
I look forward to hearing from you soon. Should you wish to discuss any of this, please do not hesitate to contact me.
We encourage as many people as possible to write to the ministers and MPs in the next couple of days. This debate was granted over the weekend – so it’s very short notice. Here is a list of MPs to contact:
Chris Heaton-Harris – Minister of State – firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com (please use both)
Grant Shapps – Secretary of State for Transport –firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com (please use both)
Richard Fuller – North East Bedfordshire MP – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mohammad Yasin – Bedford & Clapham MP (Please include your postcode) – email@example.com