In early August the trust submitted evidence to the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC )about the role which the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway Park might play in promoting economic growth and delivering environmental, health and social benefits for the region. The UK National Infrastructure Commission was established on 5 October 2015 and is responsible for providing expert advice to HM Government on the pressing infrastructure challenges facing the UK.
In March of this year the then Chancellor, George Osborne, asked the Chairman of the NIC, Lord Adonis, to conduct a study into the long-term infrastructure needed to unlock growth, jobs and housing within the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor over the next 30 years. Whilst this study will largely focus on infrastructure like road and rail it also has to identify the environmental assets, and opportunities for sustainable growth, within the corridor.
Our evidence argued that the Waterway Park will provide a key missing link in the wider regional Anglian waterway network thereby opening up major tourism opportunities and providing a significant boost to the local and wider economy and to the Marston Vale area in particular. In addition, the new link will bring with it the potential benefits for regional water management such as improved water storage and transfer as well as improved flood defences. The wider Waterway Park will provide significant new healthy lifestyle and leisure opportunities and, at the same time, increase biodiversity as it links major wetland sites.
We are currently waiting to see an interim report from the NIC which is expected in the autumn. A final report will be published late next year. If account is taken of our evidence then it would mean a major boost for the project. The Waterway Park would be drawn to the attention of the government as warranting serious consideration as potentially important regional infrastructure.
To see the Trust’s full submission for the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford Growth Corridor report click here