SBCP’s June Business Meeting was themed around transport.
Ruth Bagley, Chief Executive of Slough Borough Council started off the event by giving the delegates an update on the Western Rail Access To Heathrow project (WRAtH) – a rail link between Reading and Heathrow, via Slough, Maidenhead and Twyford. Ruth talked about the importance of this new rail link highlighting the value of Heathrow Airport and the current surface access to the UK’s only hub airport, which is currently not easily accessible from the west of the Airport.
WRAtH proposes to provide 4 trains per hour each way, creating a 6 minute journey time from Slough reduced from 45 minutes (28 minutes from Reading to Heathrow). The aim is to be operational from 2021 and the project will benefit the South East, South West, South Wales and West Midlands by making journey time reductions up to 70%. Some of the key benefits are predicted to be £800 million in economic activity generated, 42,000 jobs, over 5000 tonnes less CO2 produced each year and excellent transport links with international markets to secure trade and investment. The Council have asked for business, if they are would be interested, to contribute by visiting: thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk/wrath and to register their interest under ‘subscribe’.
Our next speaker gave an update on the progress of Crossrail and John Goldsmith, Area Community Relations Manager, told delegates about the progress of the Crossrail project which is providing a new high capacity, high frequency railway across London, linking Slough to a line that will be able to take more passengers into central London, faster. This will impact on Slough journey times by making a journey to Paddington 28 minutes, Tottenham Court Road 34 minutes, Liverpool Street 39 minutes, Canary Wharf 46 minutes and Heathrow in 17 minutes (plus interchange time).
John also highlighted future work on Slough’s bridges and we will keep you updated on these works when they occur.
Finally, Nathan Fletcher, Head of News at Heathrow Airport Ltd, gave an update on the proposal that Heathrow Airport had submitted to the Airport’s commission. The revised plans for a third runway for their North West option are in response to the Commission shortlisting 2 airports as options for new runways; Heathrow and Gatwick with their final recommendation to a new Government in Summer 2015. We heard that Heathrow, as the UK’s hub airport, can connect the whole of the UK to growth; bringing jobs and prosperity to the whole country but it is currently running at full capacity and so a third runway will allow for greater economic competitiveness and more jobs. Nathan also gave an update on how Heathrow Airport will mitigate impacts on local people, including the positioning of the third runway, quieter planes, planned take offs/ landings and compensation schemes for residents.
If you would like any further information about our speakers or details of their presentations then please contact us.
Above: Ruth Bagley from Slough Borough Council