DD1471 London Stansted Cambridge West Anglia Taskforce Plan

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
03 March 2016
Decision by: 
Fiona Fletcher-Smith, Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

The West Anglia Taskforce was established by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Mayor of London in February 2015 to develop an evidence base to support the case for improved rail infrastructure on the West Anglia Main Line.

The Taskforce has selected the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium to develop a Growth Plan that will examine the growth benefits of the proposed rail improvements. 

Director’s approval is sought for expenditure of up to £70,000 on the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium to develop a Growth Plan evidence base for the West Anglia Taskforce.



That the Executive Director approves expenditure up to £70,000 on the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium to develop a Growth Plan evidence base for the West Anglia Taskforce.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The West Anglia Taskforce (the Taskforce) was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Mayor of London in February 2015 as part of their long-term economic plan for London. The Taskforce was established to build the case for improved rail infrastructure on the West Anglia Main Line (WAML) in order to improve connections to Stansted and Cambridge from Liverpool Street and Stratford. Subsequently it was agreed by the Secretary of State for Transport that the work would encourage opportunities for economic growth along the route, including the expansion of services in the Lee Valley.

1.2    The Taskforce is focusing its efforts on making the case for four-tracking the WAML in the Upper Lee Valley and Hertfordshire, where rail services are currently severely hampered by a lack of track space. Improvements here are expected to enhance service frequency, capacity and reliability significantly, and would pave the way for Crossrail 2 to complete a high-quality rail link across London and into the existing WAML network. 

1.3    The Taskforce is chaired by Sir Alan Haselhurst, MP for Saffron Walden, and its membership includes David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, council leaders and cabinet members from the relevant London and West Anglia local authorities, representatives of the DfT, the GLA, TfL and Network Rail, and members of trade and business bodies from the WAML corridor. The first meeting of the Taskforce was held on 8 September 2015.

1.4    The London Stansted Cambridge Consortium (LSCC) was established in June 2013 to bring together local authority, academic and business representatives with an interest in achieving economic growth, higher employment rates and other improvements to the London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor. Professor Greg Clark CBE, chair of the LSCC, is a member of the Taskforce.

1.5    The LSCC has a specific focus on the geographic area that is relevant to the Taskforce’s work, and has developed strong relationships with local authorities, business groups and universities, and Stansted Airport. In June 2015, the LSCC launched the report ‘The Strategic Case for Investment in the West Anglia rail route’, which drew on the group’s local connections to present an outline case for investment in the WAML. This work builds upon the LSCC’s 2015 report.

1.6    A key requirement of the Taskforce’s work is to establish the growth potential of rail improvements along the London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor. The Taskforce requires existing evidence and new findings to be develop into a detailed Growth Plan to support investment in the WAML, which will form a key part of the Taskforce’s submission to the Government in summer 2016. The Taskforce has agreed to appoint the LSCC to develop its Growth Plan.

1.7    The LSCC requires total funding of £120,000 to carry out this work. This request is for expenditure of up to £70,000 , resourced from the Development, Enterprise and Environment (DEE) Minor Programme Budget, to fund the following:

1.7.1    £50,000  to produce a Growth Plan, including co-ordination, input to key groups and briefings for the LSCC chair and other LSCC members (10 days per month @ £500 per day [Sept 2015 – June 2016]).

1.7.2    £20,000 to organise three key stakeholder events, including supporting research, preliminary engagement and report writing.

1.8    This £70,000 will be paid directly to the LSCC.

1.9    If the costs of the discrete projects listed at 1.7.1 and 1.7.2 are less than the £70,000 requested here, the cost to the GLA will be reduced by the equivalent amount.

1.10    Further funding of £50,000 will be provided from TfL’s Crossrail 2 budget to cover two separate sub-projects:

1.10.1    £25,000 to conduct a baseline analysis and economic assessment

1.10.2    £25,000 to conduct a study of major employment and housing sites in the London-Stansted-Cambridge Corridor and along the West Anglia Main Line route.


Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The Growth Plan report is expected to develop a clear understanding of growth opportunities along the London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor. It is likely to cover the following key areas:

2.1.1    An overview of the LSCC economy – identifying strengths and assets, and drawing international comparisons with similar economic communities.

2.1.2    The case for growth, and the role of West Anglia Main Line improvements – providing detailed potential growth scenarios, considering the capacity for growth, and identifying the potential role of transport infrastructure in facilitating and maximising housing and jobs growth.

2.1.3    Making the case: delivering a key element of the UK’s future global competitiveness and growth – clearly demonstrating the potential benefits of the proposed transport infrastructure to the local and national economies, along with how the region’s development would be hampered without these improvements.

2.2    The stakeholder events will be held in Cambridge, Harlow and North London between November 2015 and January 2016. They will include local authorities and private sector (landowner, developer and wider business) interests to build support for the investment and test the appetite for growth. Securing support from the widest possible range of stakeholders has been established as a key aim of the Taskforce, and these events will be a central part of this engagement process.

2.3    The LSCC delivered an initial report to the Taskforce Working Group in December 2015. The Growth Plan will inform the Taskforce’s strategic case for WAML infrastructure improvements, which is due to be reported to the Government in summer 2016.


Equality comments

3.1    This decision is not expected to have any impact on those with protected characteristics.


Other considerations

Key risks and issues 

4.1    This decision is not considered to pose any risks to the GLA or the work of the Taskforce. Should the Growth Plan not be conducted, there would be a risk of the Taskforce’s strategic case being undermined by a weak evidence base. 

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities 

4.2    The London Plan identifies the Upper Lee Valley as an Opportunity Area. This work is intended to develop the Mayor’s commitment to realising the potential of the region and improving its connections to areas outside London. The London Infrastructure Plan 2050 identifies the need to build 49,000 new homes a year to meet the growing demand for housing and the existing backlog, and the work of the Taskforce is intended to help unlock housing growth potential in outer London and beyond.

Impact assessments and consultations

4.3    The stakeholder engagement that is to be conducted by the LSCC as part of this work is intended to involve local authorities and business groups in the work of the Taskforce in order to ensure that their views and considerations are incorporated into its work at the earliest opportunity.


Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought to spend up to £70,000 to support the London Stansted Cambridge Consortium’s West Anglia Taskforce Growth Plan work (total cost of the work is expected to be £120,000) to be funded from the 2015-16 DEE Minor Programme budget. This funding to LSCC is anticipated to be the vast majority (if not all) of the third party expenditure by the Taskforce.

5.2    Delivery of the work will be ongoing until June 2016, therefore payment will be made in two instalments; £35,000 will be paid by March 2016 with the final payment of £35,000 paid in June 2016. A budget carry forward request of £35,000 will be submitted by the Transport Unit at the end of this financial year to fund the remaining expenditure in 2016/17, the approval of which is subject to the year-end process. In the event that the budget carry forward request is not approved, the cost of the remaining work will need to be met from within the resources available to the DEE directorate in 2016/17.


Planned delivery approach and next steps



Delivery Start Date

October 2015

Delivery End Date

29 June 2016

Project Closure

29 July 2016


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