Writing to Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has expressed her “disappointment” at the Government’s decision to not meet with the No Expressway Group (NEG).
During the General Election, Grant Shapps visited Cumnor to announce that a Conservative majority government would ‘review’ the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.
Following the news that the Secretary of State did not find time to meet with the NEG when the group wrote to request a meeting, Layla has written to Mr Shapps saying “I firmly believe that any such review must include representations from campaign groups including the NEG, to make sure their voice, and those of many of my constituents, are heard.”
In the letter, Moran reiterated her call for the Expressway to “be scrapped and replaced with a fully electrified East-West Rail”.
The MP asked for Shapps to “reconsider [his] decision to not meet with NEG”, making it clear that it was important to engage with a wide range of stakeholders, including the campaign group, in any forthcoming review.
Commenting, Layla said:
“When I heard that Grant Shapps couldn’t find time to meet with the NEG, I was very disappointed.
“This is the largest campaign group when it comes to the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway, and any ‘review’ of the project must include them and others.
“I have written to the Secretary of State to make my position clear.
“I will continue to stand up for my constituents and all those concerned at the impact this Expressway will have on our communities. I would like to thank the NEG and all the other campaigners for their hard work and their persistence.”
The text of Layla's letter is below:
Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP
Secretary of State for Transport
Department for Transport
Great Minster House,
33 Horseferry Rd, Westminster,
London SW1P 4DR
15 January 2020
Dear Secretary of State,
I am writing to express my disappointment at your decision to not meet with the No Expressway Group (NEG) regarding the review of the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway promised by the Conservative Party during the recent General Election.
I firmly believe that any such review must include representations from campaign groups including the NEG, to make sure their voice, and those of many of my constituents, are heard. My position, that the Expressway should be scrapped and replaced with a fully electrified East-West Rail, is well-known, and any review must seek to listen to a wide range of stakeholders, including groups like NEG.
I understand that no formal review has yet been announced, and this uncertainty for communities across the Ox-Cam Arc is a cause for concern.
I hope an announcement of the timeline and scope of the review will be forthcoming but, in any case, it is important that the Government listens to and seeks out the perspectives of grassroots groups about major infrastructure projects like the Expressway.
I would be very grateful if you would reconsider your decision to not meet with NEG, and I would of course expect to be part of any discussions you have as part of a forthcoming review, as a Member of Parliament whose constituency will be directly affected by any decisions made.
You can contact my office by emailing email@example.com or calling 020 7219 3905 to arrange a meeting in the near future.
Layla Moran MP
Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon