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Improved rail links vital to Essex economy

9 March 2016

The future prosperity of west Essex hangs in the balance unless major investment is put into rail links, the Government has been warned.

The West Anglia Taskforce yesterday (Tuesday) launched a prospectus at the Houses of Parliament in an attempt to highlight how a lack of investment could be detrimental to economic growth along the London Stansted Cambridge corridor.

The London Stansted Cambridge corridor is one of the most economically successful regions in the country, consisting of elite universities, a major European airport at Stansted and a thriving Medtech industry.  Whilst the region is thriving, its strength and ability to grow are being hindered by a lack of investment in the rail line; specifically, the two-track stretch from Coppermill Junction in London to Broxbourne junction in Hertfordshire.

The West Anglia Taskforce recommends four-tracking of the line would be an important precursor to Crossrail 2 and would assist the region in fulfilling its potential. The result would be the early delivery of around 20,000 homes and 10,000 jobs to the area, with Crossrail 2 ultimately unlocking up to 80,000 new homes and more than 45,000 new jobs along this stretch of the line.

Four-tracking, together with Crossrail 2, would result in a doubling of services along the line, reduced journey times for trains to Stansted airport and Cambridge and improved links to more than 170 destinations.

The Taskforce believes that if the region is to realise its potential for growth and create 300,000 new jobs by 2031, investment in two new rail tracks is crucial.

The Taskforce, which compromises of groups such as Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, South East LEP and Stansted Airport, released the information in the prospectus with support from Essex County Council which has been instrumental in strengthening business links in the region through heavy investment in initiatives such as the Harlow Enterprise Zone where associated companies, Raytheon and Arrow have committed to long-term leases.

Councillor Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader of Essex County Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Member of the West Anglia Taskforce stated “Improved transport links will mean the creation of thousands of new jobs and homes for Essex residents.  Essex County Council fully endorses today’s call for urgent investment in the region’s infrastructure to unlock its future economic growth potential.”