Network Rail has released proposals to close 115 level crossings across East Anglia. The proposals originally included 130 crossings, but thanks to objections from Ramblers members and local residents, 15 have been removed from the closure programme.
These 15 crossings are now saved from closure, but we’re still working to ensure that the proposals for the other 115 crossings represent the best outcome for walkers.
In February, Vanessa Griffiths, Ramblers chief executive, met with Richard Schofield, the route managing director for Anglia region to raise concerns about the closure programme and the way in which the consultation was carried out.
By building on this relationship with Network Rail, working collaboratively to identify and solve problems, we can ensure any path diversions resulting from crossing closures, now and in the future, are safe and suitable for walkers.
Our level crossings policy explains how we seek to protect rights of way across level crossings.
How we’ve protected our rights of way network so far:
As well as meeting with Network Rail, we’ve been speaking to local authorities about their response to the proposals. We’ve also been in touch with other path-user organisations, such as the British Horse Society and Open Spaces Society who have also expressed concerns about the closures programme.
Many of our committed Ramblers volunteers have also been gathering support from their local MPs.
Thank you to everyone who signed and shared our petition - it received a huge amount of support. This allowed us to show Network Rail that we represent walkers and that we can all benefit from working together. The petition is now closed as we move to the next stage of the campaign.
Next steps in East Anglia:
We've worked closely with local volunteers on the Transport and Works Act orders (the official notification of the closures) to identify unsuitable proposals. We've responded on a case-by-case basis to object to closures which will be most disruptive and difficult for walkers.
We will continue to campaign for the provision of additional safety features at crossings, as an alternative to closures.
The highway authorities in the affected regions are formally objecting to some of the closures, and therefore public inquiries will take place. The first inquiry will be for Essex, Hertfordshire and Havering, starting on 18 October 2017. We are waiting to hear the dates for Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, and we expect these inquiries to take place early next year.
The Secretary of State for Transport will have the final say on the orders and is expected to make the decision by autumn 2018.
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