£3.5bn Oxford to Cambridge Expressway scrapped

Plans for a £3.5bn Oxford to Cambridge Expressway running through parts of Bedfordshire have been scrapped by the government.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 11:50 am
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 11:54 am
The Oxford-Cambridge Expressway project has been scrapped

The Transport Secretary announced the cancellation this morning (March 18), after plans were paused last March.

The Government report states that following extensive analysis of the project it would not be cost effective to continue.

Highways England were hoping to create developing potential options for a road link between Oxford and Milton Keynes. Yet, recent analysis conducted locally, by the government has led to a U-turn on the proposals.

The route would have cut into countryside north of Leighton Buzzard

The Expressway was planned to go from Oxford, via Milton Keynes, and end up in Cambridge. It would have followed the route of the East West railway and cut through countryside north of Leighton Buzzard.

It was projected to cost £3.5 billion and could have involved an additional one million homes being built thr.

In a statement released on the Government's website, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "The Oxford-Cambridge Arc is home to cutting-edge research, globally renowned science and technology clusters and some of the most productive places in the country – we want to make sure it has transport fit for such an important region.

"Our analysis shows the expressway cannot deliver such links in a way that provides value for money for the taxpayer, so I have taken the decision to cancel the project. But we remain committed to boosting transport links in the area, helping us to create jobs and build back better from coronavirus (COVID-19).

"We will continue to work on more targeted, localised road improvements to boost transport in the region, alongside the transformational East West Rail, in which we have invested £760 million to deliver the next phase."

The project had been in the works since 2014, but had been protested due to its threat to the countryside.