On Wednesday 13th February, the public inquiry into the Network Rail (Essex & Others Level Crossings Reduction) Order closed after 45 sitting days extending over 16 months. The Order, which is sought under the Transport and Works Act 1992, would result in the closure or downgrading of 56 railway level crossings in within Essex, Hertfordshire, Havering, Southend and Thurrock, and the provision of diversionary routes for existing users of the crossings.
It is one of three similar orders on the Anglia Route which form part of Network Rail’s efforts to improve the safety of the network, reduce operational costs, and improve the capacity of the railway. The orders form part of a national strategy to significantly improve safety at level crossings.
Objectors to the Order (or parts of the Order) included two of the affected highway authorities, the Essex Local Access Forum, the NFU, the Ramblers Association, several affected landowners, and users of some of the crossings.
Jacqueline Lean acted for Network Rail, and also acted for Network Rail on its application for a similar order relating to level crossings in Suffolk (inquiry closed in May 2018)
Richard Turney acted for Network Rail on the Network Rail (Cambridgeshire Level Crossings Reduction) Order application (inquiry closed February 2018).