Plans for the new western rail link to Heathrow Airport have received overwhelming support in a public consultation, it has been revealed.
The vast majority of the people who responded to the consultation have thrown their weight behind the western rail link that will travel from Reading and Slough to London Heathrow Airport.
Rail users, businesses, communities and other stakeholders were asked for their opinions; well in excess of 1,000 responses were received by Network Rail, which adds to similar totals in the previous public consultations.
The results of the consultation revealed 72% of respondents agreed with plans to build the new rail link, whilst 23% disagreed with proposals. The main reason for this was a necessary road closure in the Iver area.
In addition, 11% of respondents asked the rail industry to speed up the delivery of the scheme which would give passengers in the West and beyond the ability to travel directly to Heathrow Airport from areas including Reading, Twyford, Maidenhead and Slough, without the need to change at London Paddington.
The results would drastically reduce journey time, therefore easing congestion on the roads and increasing the number of jobs in the Thames Valley and surrounding area.
Ultimately, all of this would boost the economy.
Mark Langman is the route managing director for Network Rail’s Western route.
He said: “We are delighted that the proposals have been given the overwhelming support of the public, businesses and stakeholders.
“We have also heard the concerns of some local residents so will continue to work hard to make sure our final plans, which will be submitted for consent in 2019, work with other developments in the area.”
Network Rail has analysed all consultation responses and will now publish finalised plans before holding public information events prior to submitting the application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Planning Inspectorate by the middle of next year.