A statement on the East West Rail proposals Like many organisations, businesses and residents in the area, we’re looking closely at the proposals for East West Rail – route alignments, service options, impacts on local access and the environment. We’re paying particular attention to sections that cross the Forest of Marston Vale, and assessing the environmental and ecologic impact of the proposed routes on the Forest and our Community Woodlands. Whilst we understand that easing pressure on local roads and improving the public transport network can have a positive effect on carbon emissions and help the fight to combat climate change, we know that woodland is a habitat already under threat with only 7% of native woodland in the UK being of “good condition”. We also know from our 2018 Impact and Progress Study that access to green space is vital for our communities to thrive. Protecting the natural environment betters the social and economic prospects of the area, attracting inward investment and improving the lives of the people who live in the Marston Vale, on top of the wider environmental benefits. It is imperative that these findings be considered, and that protection against environmental damage is taken into account when decision makers assess the viability of the proposed routes. As we continue to look at the impact of each element of the proposals, we encourage residents of the Forest to join the Bedford Borough Council virtual consultation meetings and feedback on the East West Rail Consultation online or via one of the weekly live chats before the closing date on 9th June in order to ensure that any local concerns are raised and heard. Those not online or interested in virtual meetings can also call 0330 1340067 and one of the East West Rail Company team will help you. Physical copies of all the consultation documents (including the Technical Report) are available from the Company. For press enquiries please contact our Communications Officer.