Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford are some of the UK's most productive and fast-growing urban areas. The Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Arc is home to 3.3 million people, supporting around 1.8 million jobs and creating £90 billion annual gross valued added to the UK economy (HM Treasury, 2018). The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) emphasises the importance of better connection of cities along the Arc via new infrastructure services and housing developments for its long-term economic growth (NIC, 2017). This project aims to address the knowledge gap on how the East West Railway scheme can be designed in a net zero way.
  • DatesFebruary-May 2020
  • SponsorEast West Railway Company Ltd
  • PartnersEast West Railway Company Ltd, UKCRIC

The UK Government has set a very ambitious target to become a net zero economy by 2050. This means it is essential that any large infrastructure project should be designed to be net zero. One such project is the East West Rail scheme, which aims to connect rail links between Cambridge and Oxford to improve connections between East Anglia and its surrounding regions. However, it is not clear what this means in practice: should this be over the life cycle of the East West Rail? What are the trade-offs designing a net zero railway line over its life cycle vs its operation phase?

The aim of this project is to deliver a report and an oral presentation for the client – East West Railway Company Ltd - on the assessment of opportunities and challenges, identification of different options and their environmental and economic trade-offs, and practical implications for the development of the East West Rail scheme from a net zero perspective.