Letter to the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer
To: Secretary of State for Transport and The Chancellor of the Exchequer
Dear Rt Hon Mark Harper and Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP
The urgent need to progress Ely Junction to unleash international trade, level up and commit to net zero
We write on behalf of the national, regional and local businesses, leaders, and key supporters who together call on you to approve the £466m required for Ely Area Capacity Enhancements (EACE) unlock economic growth in the East, Midlands and North of England and bolster international trade.
Locally we are committed to delivering EACE in way that meets the road access requirements of the local community and businesses.
EACE sits on the cross-country rail route linking Felixstowe, the UKs busiest container port, to the Midlands, the North and Scotland. It is the most intensively used freight corridor in the UK; the mixture of single track sections, restricted speeds, level crossings and signalling limitations at Ely are creating a bottleneck at the junction.
The bottleneck is creating a significant barrier for increasing the much needed freight capacity in the area. Businesses across the UK are unable to import and export goods, via freight, and are turning to using lorries, which are less reliable, causing congestion on our roads and much worse for the environment.
Put simply, this freight corridor which is vitally important for UK trade is woefully served by a Victorian railway which is no longer fit for purpose, let alone future trade ambitions. The nation simply cannot afford not to carry out EACE and upgrade Ely Junction, which has a relatively low cost in transport infrastructure terms of under half a billion pounds. Just a few of the many benefits of EACE are listed below:
- Supporting UK wide economic growth, especially in the East of England, Midlands Engine, Northern Powerhouse and up into Scotland
- Remarkably high benefit cost-ratio of 4.89
- Slashes emissions by 1.7m tonnes of CO2 and cuts congestion by removing 98,000 lorries off the roads each year
- Supports the national priority of Rail Freight
- Unlocking better passenger services across the East or England and maximises the impact of Government backed East-West Rail
- Supports the Government’s Freeport initiative, providing increased capacity between Thames Freeport, Freeport East and Tees Valley Freeport
- The project has unprecedented level of support from across the UK – including cross-party and cross-industry
Delaying progress on EACE will be costly to the UK economy. Our position is clear, if you are serious about supporting businesses, you should progress EACE. If you are serious about levelling up, you should progress EACE. If you are serious about meeting net zero targets, you should progress EACE.
We hope that you will now move to approve the required funding for EACE because it is a local solution to a national problem. We would welcome a meeting with you and Government officials to discuss this further.
Nik Johnson, Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough
Rob Bridge, CEO of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority
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