The petition of residents of the United Kingdom,
Declares that, whilst welcoming the £760 million that the Government are investing in East-West Rail and the 1,500 jobs it will create, petitioners remain concerned that the funding announcement did not commit to the completion of the proposed spur between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, which was originally conceived as part of the project; further that Aylesbury rail links consist only of a slow railway line to and from London and a single-track railway to and from Princes Risborough; further that if towns like Aylesbury are to both expand and to meet the net zero target of 2050 it is vital that the Government build sustainable transport links and improve connectivity; and further that excluding Aylesbury from the direct benefits of this project risks the town missing out on the levelling up of transport infrastructure and hampering potential economic growth.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to consider the concerns of petitioners and commit to the completion of the proposed spur between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes.
And the petitioners remain, etc. —[Presented by Rob Butler, Official Report, 1 February 2022; Vol. 708, c. 255.]
Observations from the Minister of State, Department for Transport (Wendy Morton):
The Department for Transport is continuing to assess the business case for—and affordability of—delivering a spur of East-West Rail which would enable a rail connection from Aylesbury to Bletchley/Milton Keynes. This will need to take account of the impact of its 2021 Spending Review Settlement, as well as the need to understand the likely long-term demand for rail transport following the covid-19 pandemic.
Ministers will provide a more detailed update on the Aylesbury spur of East-West Rail when further decisions have been taken on the overall East-West Rail scheme.
Government are committed to investing in the Aylesbury area. This is demonstrated by the £12 million Government funding for the South East Aylesbury Link Road through the Local Growth Fund (LGF), and the £170 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) for the Aylesbury Garden Village. Both projects have substantial sustainable transport elements that will benefit the local area with cleaner cycling and walking projects. The Department for Transport is currently working closely with Buckinghamshire Council on these key schemes.
Ministers are committed to improving the sustainability of transport across the entire United Kingdom as a part of the plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. These include investing £2 billion in cycling and walking, with an ambition for half of all journeys in towns and cities to be cycled or walked by 2030; and investing £3 billion to deliver the National Bus Strategy to support the delivery of 4,000 new zero-emission buses and their supporting infrastructure.