East West Rail Central Section (EWR CS) – Bedford to Cambridge Business Case

To: The Rt. Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport
by email

Dear Secretary of State,

We write as a group of parish councils, councillors, environmental groups and residents of South
Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire and Central Bedfordshire.
We are alarmed that, despite the design for this section having been worked on for several years
and construction costings having been produced, at no time has EWR Co. made their business case
In a letter dated 2nd February 2022 the East West Rail Team confirmed that “EWR is a key project
for supporting the delivery of the Government’s objectives for the Oxford Cambridge Arc.” However,
the flagship Levelling Up White Paper published on the same day makes no mention of the Oxford
Cambridge Arc; and indeed, specifically excludes the Oxford/Cambridge/London Golden Triangle as a
search area for further investment.
In January 2020 the EWR CS benefit to cost ratio was stated at an extremely low value of 0.64. Since
then, a number of factors would lead us to think that the BCR can have only worsened. There is no
housing planned around EWR stations in the update to the Greater Cambridge proposed Local Plan
2021; there is no published incremental business case for freight; there is no evidence that postpandemic
inter-city passenger numbers will be anything like as before and local commuter traffic
numbers and patterns are unknown; the EWR CS was not mentioned in SR21. Lastly, the
electrification or “hydrogenation” of the line will add significantly to the cost.
If this project is to continue then a positive business case needs to be published. If this project is not
to continue then it needs to be stopped now, lifting a planning blight that impacts many
communities, thousands of people and to prevent wasting millions of pounds on current project
We believe that the time has come for EWR Co. to publish a business case; and the purpose of this
letter is to ask you, as Minister responsible, to direct EWR Co. to do so.
List of Supporting Organisations
Arrington Parish Council
Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trusts
Bedford For A Re-consultation (BFARe)
Barrington Parish Council
Barton Parish Council
Bourn Parish Council
Boxworth Parish Council
Cam Bed Rail Road Action Group
2 of 3
Cam Valley Forum
Cambridge Approaches Action Group
Comberton Parish Council
Countryside Restoration Trust
CPRE Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
CPRE Bedfordshire
Caldecote Parish Council
Clapham Parish Council, Bedfordshire
Croxton Park
Croxton Parish Council
Croydon Parish Council
Dry Drayton Parish Council
Elsworth Parish Council
Fowlmere Parish Council
Gamlingay Parish Council
Great Shelford Parish Council
Guilden Morden Parish Council
Harlton Parish Council
Harston Parish Council
Harston Residents Association
Haslingfield Village Society
Haslingfield Parish Council
Hatley Estates
Hauxton Parish Council
Litlington Parish Council
Little Shelford Parish Council
Kingston Parish Council
Knapwell Parish Council
Madingley Parish Council
Melbourn Parish Council
Meldreth Parish Council
Newton Parish Council
Oakington Transport Action Group
Orwell Parish Council
St. Neots Town Council
Stapleford Parish Council
Steeple Morden Parish Council
Stop The OxCam Arc Group
The Eversdens Parish Council
Toft Parish Council
Trumpington Residents’ Association
Wimpole Parish Council
Yelling Parish Council
List of Supporting Individuals
Cllr Michael Atkins, Cambridgeshire County Council (Lib Dem)
Cllr Sam Davies, City Councillor, Queen Edith’s Ward (part of the South Cambs. constituency)
Cllr Peter Fane, South Cambridgeshire District Council (Lib Dem)
Cllr Stephen Ferguson, Chairman Cambridgeshire County Council and Mayor of St. Neots