Parliament Debates Crossrail to Ebbsfleet Extension (C2E).

MPs last night discussed the powerful case for extending Crossrail Services to Ebbsfleet in the House of Commons - writes

Opening the debate, Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford, said Government should prioritise finishing the job of Crossrail. Calling it “absurd” that the two great achievements of HS1 and Crossrail are not connected, despite being so close - and despite their joining-up being part of the original vision for Crossrail. He said that the decision to not finish the job on Crossrail had created “ten miles of missed opportunity” between the two lines. Ten miles that will be transformed by C2E, and where the availability of brownfield land offers a unique opportunity to bring much-needed regeneration and housing.

This was echoed by Teresa Pearce MP (Erith and Thamesmead), who made it clear that Crossrail was integral to growth and regeneration strategies in South East London. And by David Evennett MP (Bexleyheath and Crayford), who highlighted the huge support across the area for finishing the job - describing the case for extending beyond Abbey Wood as compelling, and warning that not pushing on risked missing major opportunities for residents and businesses.

Sir Michael Fallon MP (Sevenoaks) underlined the wider benefit to Kent in connecting Kent and Heathrow for the first time, saying C2E would “considerably relieve congestion in all parts of Kent, not least on the M25”.

Responding for the Government, Jo Johnson MP paid tribute to the C2E campaign, local MPs and Council Leaders for their consistent championing of the C2E extension. Emphasising Government’s work to modernise the railway across the UK, Jo Johnson MP promised the government would give the extension the fullest possible consideration and looked forward to seeing the outputs of work with TfL to prepare the way for C2E, in particular the Strategic Outline Business Case being submitted to the Department for Transport this summer.

Jo Johnson agreed that there had been considerable change in South East London and North Kent since the decision to not extend beyond Abbey Wood had been finalised in the 2008 Crossrail Act, and in light of this said Government would take a fresh look at the case for extending to Ebbsfleet.

The debate comes less than two weeks before the flagship Thames Estuary Growth Commission, led by Sir John Armitt, is expected to recommend C2E to Government. The endorsement of the Thames Estuary Growth Commission would be a major step forward for the C2E Programme, opening the way for serious dialogue with Government over the summer.

Find out more about the C2E campaign.

Pictured:Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE at the House of Commons with David Evennett MP, Teresa Pearce MP and Gareth Johnson MP, Jo Johnson MP and Bexley Councillors.

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