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Stansted expansion prompts road and rail improvements

Secretary of state for transport Ruth Kelly has demanded that the highways Agency look again into the possible widening of the M11 around Stansted airport to deal with the airport's possible expansion, and for Network Rail to bring improvements on the London-Cambridge line forward.

According to Kelly, "This is in recognition of the proposed growth in the draft East of England plan and the need to support this with effective and sustainable transport links. This work would also need to take account of potential expansion of Stansted airport."

The research must take the possible expansion of Stansted into consideration, up to the year 2030. Kelly's predecessor, Douglas Alexander, last year published a consultation to widen the M11 between junctions 6 and junction 8, and to improve the junction access from the M11 and the A120 to Stansted Airport.

"I consider that the form of capacity improvements to the M11 in the period before 2030 requires further assessment and as a result I have asked the Highways Agency to carry out further work to look into this.

"If this work determines that widening the M11 is needed, it has been agreed that BAA would contribute to the overall costs, subject to the necessary referral to the economic regulator. My Department will announce shortly the results of the consultation on the schemes required to provide access from the M11 and A120 to an expanded Stansted Airport, which BAA has agreed to fund in full."

Kelly also said Network Rail had to bring enhancements for the West Anglia Main Line forward, to deal with the growth between London and Cambridge. "Following recent feasibility work led by my Department, I confirm that this assessment should incorporate consideration of line and route improvements including a potential four-tracking option from Tottenham Hale to south of Cheshunt, and an assessment of what commitments would be needed to deliver this solution.

"The anticipated timescales for this assessment are for necessary development work and powers to be completed within railway Control Period 4 (2009-14), with a view to targeting delivery in Control Period 5 (2014-19)," she said. The work is on top of enhancements required in last year's High Level Output Specification (HLOS).

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