Lib Dems welcome Budget progress on East-West rail

Liberal Democrats across Cambridgeshire have welcomed the commitments given in the budget towards funding East-West Rail between Oxford and Cambridge.

This is something Lib Dem councillors have been campaigning for for years.

The concept of a new growth area linking Oxford and Cambridge was promoted by Nick Clegg in 2014, and the support from Lord Adonis and the national infrastructure commission for this concept is very welcome.

Essential to the Lib Dem vision for this scheme is the sustainability of the new towns, and carefully planned sustainable transport links.

Lib Dems in Cambridgeshire are delighted that the rail proposals are being brought forward, but have expressed concern that the overall plan will fail to protect the environment.

“We are worried that there is very little emphasis on the sustainability of new development in the Conservative proposals,” said Cllr Lucy Nethsingha.

“New homes are desperately needed, but it is critical that they are built in a way which encourages the use of public transport, walking and cycling.  There is little in these proposals about how people will travel the final mile.  Travelling from Cambridge to Bedford a huge amount of the travel time can be getting out of and then into the city, or to the station.  You can spend half an hour getting out of Cambridge, and half an hour getting into Bedford.

“While improving the road from between the cities is very welcome, we must focus on improving transport within our cities, as well as between them.

“With no mention in the budget, and no support for cash strapped local councils, the questions about tackling congestion within cities remains key.”

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