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To: Secretary of State for Transport.
Keep Safe Rail Crossings Open.
Halt the use of the Transport and Works Act by Network Rail to carry out blanket closures of Rail Crossings, many of which are safe. Keep Britain's Public Footpaths open for all to enjoy.
Why is this important?
Network Rail has a programme of closing non-vehicular Rail Level Crossings, ostensibly to improve safety, although many have no safety issues and the resultant closure or diversion of Public Rights of Way (Footpaths and Bridleways) will severely damage the public's ability to enjoy our wonderful countryside.
The process is currently being pushed through in the Anglia region, with 63 crossing closures proposed for Essex alone, but eventually every part of the country will be affected. This scale of closures would have a devastating and unprecedented effect on our Public Rights of Way, destroying or degrading many established routes. Often these are historic paths and most are older than the Railways themselves.
Mott Macdonald, the consultants being used by NR, are employing a legal device called a Transport and Works order and involves:-
Closure of a large swathe of crossings at a time.
No opportunity for the case for each crossing to be tested at a public enquiry.
Only a limited programme of consultation in which many local people and the public at large have no knowledge of the plans and their implications.
Only limited options being presented and no opportunity for consultees to argue for alternative approaches.
Some of NR's solutions destroy the pleasure in using the path, such as diverting it long distances beside the railway, but some are dangerous in themselves where pedestrians are to be directed along roads without verges. Where statistics show a genuine safety issue then action may be necessary but in many cases this is not the case. And if NR were genuinely concerned with safety and not just the convenience of banishing the public from its estate it would be proposing bridges, tunnels, and other safety devices at points of concern, rather than their draconian and undemocratic approach.