The Essex and Others Order was the largest of the three Level Crossing Reduction Orders simultaneously pursued by Network Rail in 2017, covering Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Essex. The Inquiry into the Essex Order closed in February 2019 having sat for a total of 48 sitting days.
Through the proposed order, Network Rail sought the power to close or downgrade 57 level crossings in the counties of Essex and Hertfordshire, the Borough of Thurrock, the Borough of Southend-on-Sea and the London Borough of Havering.
The Ramblers were successful in objecting to 16 of those crossings, which have been removed from the Order.
The Decision and the underlying report of the Inspector raises a number of interesting issues in considering whether proposed alternative routes were a “convenient and suitable replacement for existing users” under section 5(6) of the Transport and Works Act 1992, including what factors are encompassed by the phrase “suitable and convenient” and who “existing users” are.
The Decision also reflects the importance of the Public Sector Equality Duty in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 for decision-making in this area, as the decision to remove a number of the crossing proposals was based (at least in part) on conclusions that the PSED would not be met.
Merrow Golden represented the Ramblers at the Inquiry.
The Secretary of State’s decision letter and the Inspector’s report can both be found here.
Related news items on the other two orders can be found here:
Please note, Francis Taylor Building intends to provide a webinar briefing on the outcome of the three Network Rail Level Crossing Reduction TWAOs, now that all of the decisions have been published. If you would like to be notified of the details for this in due course, please e-mail Deirdre Mahon at firstname.lastname@example.org