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C2E: Heathrow airport and Shepherd Neame among businesses and investors back Crossrail to Ebbsfleet campaign

By Lydia Chantler-Hicks

High-profile businesses have made a joint appeal to government to extend Crossrail into Kent.

A coalition of firms and investors - including London City Airport, Shepherd Neame, Arcadis and Heathrow Airport - have penned a letter, which was published today.

In it, they stress their belief that the government should commit to extending the Elizabeth line to Ebbsfleet.

A number of businesses have thrown their weight behind the C2E campaign
A number of businesses have thrown their weight behind the C2E campaign

They claim the extension would complete a "missing link" in the railway line and facilitate growth in the south-east - creating 50,000 new jobs and unlocking the building of 55,000 new homes.

It comes after a cross-party alliance of MPs united in October to call for government backing of the extension, and delivered their proposals to the Rail Minister.

The Thames Estuary Commission (TEC) has also backed the project, and the government is due to issue a response to the TEC's findings in coming weeks.

In order to kickstart the project, £25 million in funding is required.

Paul Moore, Chair of the Crossrail to Ebbsfleet (C2E) campaign said: "The coalition of support behind the C2E is growing by the day, as political, business and industry bodies continue to come on board.

"This is a crucial opportunity for the Government to support the creation of a growth corridor - with quality and affordable new homes and jobs growth - in an area that needs investment to unlock its full potential.

"I would like to thank our business partners for this joint letter and continuing to make the case for this essential project."

The C2E campaign group argues that the extension would boost areas such as Gravesham and Dartford, providing a straightforward, fast connection into Canary Wharf - as well as connected Crossrail with the HS1 line at Ebbsfleet, to create a "more joined-up railway network".

The Elizabeth line - built by Crossrail Ltd - is currently planned to stretch from Reading to Heathrow in the west, through central tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. It is currently expected to stop at 41 stations, and is forecast to serve about 200 million people each year.

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