East-West rail link for Bedford Dec99
“Felixstowe & the East West Rail Link”
Felixstowe is the UK's largest container port
handling over a million containers each year It needs special help from
the UK Govt and the European Union in establishing an appropriate rail and
road link to connect it to the national and European rail-road network.
The East West Rail Link depends on the
connection of Sandy to Bedford. I met the Chief Executive, his team and
the political party leaders of the Bedford Borough Council last Friday.
There is unanimous support for the Link as it will connect Felixstowe to
all corners of Britain and to Ireland. This will reduce substantially the
number of lorries on our roads, help reduce pollution and road damage in
our countryside and stimulate the economy of Bedford.
The European Investment Bank’s (EIB) remit
is to invest in infra structure of the Member States. It has invested
millions in supporting similar ventures in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and
Greece. It should not be difficult for our Government to secure EIB
funding for such an important project.
I have been appointed the Parliamentary
Rapporteur for the three European Banks: the ECB, the EIB and EBRD and I
shall raise this with the UKREP in Brussels.
People of Bedford must decide on the route
that will protect their environment, their economic interests and help the
national economy. Freight will predominate over passenger traffic and a
“NIMBY” attitude of a few could frustrate and delay a project that
will bring much benefit to Bedford. I shall remain in touch with the
Council to assist in bringing this benefit to Bedford.