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A petition signed by 969 people was been formally presented to Surrey County Council, appealing to the Council not to withdraw its objection to Airtrack. The petition was started by Egham residents outraged by the news that BAA had offered the Council £ 11.4 million in exchange for withdrawing its Objection when the public inquiry considers the project.

Airtrack is the project, sponsored by BAA / Heathrow Airport ltd to build a railway link between Heathrow and Staines, providing direct rail links to the airport from Waterloo, Guildford and Reading. If built, the project will result in 8 extra trains an hour between Virginia Water (where the Guildford and Reading lines merge) and Staines, doubling the number of trains passing through the 4 level crossings in Egham. Local residents are furious that the Council has been negotiating with BAA for money to reduce congestion at the Runnymede roundabout, which links the M25 to the A30, but has no plans or proposals to prevent 3 Egham level crossings being closed for 30 to 45 minutes per hour.

Residents and businesses in Egham have been campaigning since 2008 a bridge or tunnel in Egham if Airtrack goes ahead.

Surrey County Council now claim that though technically feasible, a tunnel cannot be financially justified by the saving in waiting time and have proposed withdrawing the objection in exchange for funding from BAA for their longstanding project to reduce congestion at the Runnymede Roundabout.

Please ring or write urgently to Council Leader Cllr. Andrew Povey and to the cabinet member for Transport Cllr. Ian Lake appealing to them not to take this irrevocable step.

The full County Council has to endorse any decision. Full Council meets next on 22 March 2011. Please contact your councillors to emphasise the damage to Egham of allowing the project to go ahead without a tunnel in Egham.

Before then we would like you to complete our surveys: for local residents and for people who work in the area.

Please help to save our town.

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