In March 2021, Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP, announced the cancellation of the Expressway, marking the end of the immediate threat to nature from this damaging project.
Government’s ambitions for economic growth in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, and we will continue to work to ensure they avoid harming nature and maximise their contribution to restoring nature across the Arc.
This summer, Government will be consulting the public on the Vision for the OxCam Arc. It is essential that this Vision has protecting and looking after the natural environment as its guiding principle. Keep an eye on our OxCam Arc campaign page for updates about this consultation and how you can help ensure nature is at the heart of the Vision for the Arc.
In the meantime, if you are keen for your voice to be heard, the RSPB recommends writing to your MP. You could also write to Grant Shapps MP, who is currently the Secretary of State for Transport.
Here are a few over-arching things you could consider mentioning to your MP or the Secretary of State:
- Strategic Environmental Assessment* ("SEA") should be carried out as a matter of course for all major transport infrastructure projects to ensure that less environmentally damaging options are not excluded from consideration;
- Assessing and considering the cumulative environmental impacts of transport infrastructure projects together with other forms of development, such as housing, that transport infrastructure enables (often by design) is essential to preventing significant environmental damage, and should be a requirement of all strategic transport infrastructure projects.
- Only once existing irreplaceable habitats and wildlife sites have been protected, all transport infrastructure projects (including Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects) should be required to achieve a net gain in biodiversity that contributes to strategic nature recovery.
- All strategic transport infrastructure projects should be subject to stringent assessment of their lifetime greenhouse gas emissions and a net zero test should be applied to ensure that only projects that are compatible with achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2050 at the latest receive public investment.
*If you’re confused about SEA and EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) it's worth knowing that for transport projects EIA is done once a preferred route is chosen and the designs have been well worked up – but by then, different and potentially less damaging alternatives may have been dropped from further consideration. Doing SEA of all the options beforehand can help ensure the best (environmentally) alternatives are identified and worse (environmentally) options can be avoided. For more information visit the government's guidance page here.