Over the last year Ramblers volunteers in Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk have been busy responding to Network Rail’s proposed plans to close 130 level crossings across East Anglia. Thanks to their hard work, 22 have already been removed from the closure programme.
These 22 crossings are now safe from closure, but we’re still working to ensure that the proposals for the other 108 crossings give walkers the best possible outcome.
The first public inquiry into these closures, for Essex, Hertfordshire and London Borough of Havering, started on 18 October 2017. As of 20th October, it has been adjourned until late summer 2018, (exact date tbc), due to a procedural technicality. Ramblers volunteers and local residents will be giving evidence at the inquiry to ensure that the views of walkers and local people are taken into account.
In February Vanessa Griffiths, Ramblers chief executive, met with Richard Schofield, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia region, to discuss our concerns about the closures and the way the consultation was carried out.
We will continue working collaboratively with Network Rail to ensure that any path diversions resulting from crossing closures, now and in the future, are safe and suitable for walkers.
Other path-user organisations, such as the British Horse Society and Open Spaces Society, have also expressed concerns about the closures. Together, we’ve been speaking to local authorities about their response to Network Rail’s plans. Many of our committed Ramblers volunteers have also been gathering support from their local MPs.
It received a huge amount of support. This helped show Network Rail that we represent walkers and that we can all benefit from working together.
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