MK Green Party delighted as EW Expressway is cancelled

18 March 2021

MK Green Party welcomes the announcement today (March 18th) by the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, that the East West Expressway has been cancelled. MK Green Party was the only political party in MK to oppose the Expressway when it was discussed by MK Council 3 years ago. Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem councillors all voted in favour of it. The Expressway would create more traffic, not just on the Expressway, but on local roads that feed into it. And this would also mean more noise and pollution for people living in the area and more CO2 emissions.

MK Green Party spokesman Alan Francis said, “We are delighted that the Expressway has been ditched. MK Green Party was the only political party in MK to oppose the Expressway when it was discussed by MK Council 3 years ago. Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem councillors all voted in favour of it. However as information about the proposal became known more widely in the area local residents began objecting to it and a local campaign to oppose it was launched. As a result some councillors qualified their support and the government paused the project. Once again it has been the Green Party leading and other parties following. We now need to move ahead with East West Rail as quickly as possible, not just from Oxford and Aylesbury to Milton Keynes but all the way to Cambridge.”

Peter Skelton, MK Green Party member and member of Woburn Sands Town Council said, “Following vigorous public opposition across the Ox-Cam Arc by the ‘NoExpressway Group’ – as well as by MKGP locally – on the grounds of unsustainable impacts on the environment, climate, health, community severance and wildlife, as well as economic redundancy in any case, the Expressway plan was ‘paused’, though not actually cancelled, by the Government in March 2020.

This latest announcement from the Government, formally cancelling the Expressway, while continuing ‘to work on alternative plans to boost transport connectivity in the arc, alongside delivering the transformational East West Rail’, at last finally closes the book on the time-, and resource-wasting pursuit of this white elephant.”

From the outset, the MKGP have strongly opposed the concept of the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway as being an outmoded 20th Century approach to 21st century transport issues, hugely threatening to the environment and completely at odds with national targets for reducing carbon emissions.

By contrast, in 2018 MKC – with the support of all parties on the Council – agreed a formal position that “it strongly supports the alignment of the Expressway within the same corridor as the East-West Rail (EWR) route (Corridor B), as for continued sustainable growth this alignment creates the best opportunity to maximise the potential offered by a major growth corridor”.’ Corridor B was designated to run across MK’s southern margin, potentially slicing between Woburn Sands and Wavendon, and veering past Bletchley’s southern boundary.

But on adopting a new Sustainability Strategy in 2019, intended to make Milton Keynes the ‘Greenest City in the World’, MKC cobbled together a palpably self-contradictory compromise position whereby ‘the Council’s support for the Expressway now is therefore conditional on addressing and mitigating the environmental impacts of a new dual carriageway road’.

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