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New Crossrail route safeguarded - DfT release

The Government is to protect the route of a potential future Crossrail extension from Abbey Wood to Gravesend in Kent, Transport Minister Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP announced today.

Crossrail is the country's biggest rail infrastructure project and the scheme's plans currently terminate at Abbey Wood. While no decision or commitment to extend it further to Gravesend and Hoo Junction has been made, safeguarding provides additional protection against future developments on the route.

Transport Minister Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP said:

"This is good news for the people of Kent. Safeguarding will allow this important rail project to be extended in the future if the business case stands up. By doing this we are future proofing Crossrail.

"The Government is committed to Crossrail and the economic benefits it will bring to London and the South East."

Notes to editors

1. The Department for Transport (DfT) has issued Safeguarding Directions to protect a potential extension of Crossrail from Abbey Wood to Gravesend and Hoo Junction. This follows a consultation on the draft Directions which closed on 19th December 2008.

The safeguarding plans can be viewed here: /library#tag/814/812

2. The aim is to ensure that developments along this rail corridor do not impact on the ability to extend Crossrail in the future. Crossrail Ltd (CRL), a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL, has responsibility for delivering the Crossrail scheme and is responsible for safeguarding this corridor.

3. The Safeguarding Direction has been issued to Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) by the Secretary of State. The LPAs are required to consult CRL when determining planning applications for land within the limits shown on the safeguarding plans attached to the direction.

4. The Crossrail project currently terminates at Abbey Wood. No decision or commitment to extend it further east has been made. However, DfT believes it sensible to safeguard this corridor for a potential extension of Crossrail to Gravesend and Hoo Junction. Safeguarding will also allow us to carry out alternative works that could enable future operational requirements to be met.

5. Crossrail will run 118 km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. It will bring an additional 1.5 million people within 60 minutes commuting distance of London's key business districts. When Crossrail opens in 2017 it will increase London's public transport network capacity by 10 per cent, supporting regeneration across the capital, helping to secure London's position as a world leading financial centre, and cutting journey times across the city. Preparatory works will continue throughout 2009 and main Crossrail construction starts in 2010.

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