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East Midlands Chamber News

Transport Secretary wrong to pull MML electrification

Chris Hobson, Director of Policy at East Midlands Chamber said: “Chris Grayling was wrong to pull funding for electrification of the Midland Main Line.

“Last night Mr Grayling told the Transport Select Committee that he stopped modernisation of the line because he didn’t think shaving ‘a minute off journey times between Sheffield and London’ was worth the £1bn investment.

“But it isn’t just about saving time on the journey. The very next announcement to come out of his department last summer was that he had created a £255m fund that local authorities could access for feasibility studies into cleaner air initiatives such as banning diesel cars and vans from town and city centres or establishing so-called ‘toxin tax’ zones, similar to London’s congestion charge.

“Electrification of Midland Main Line is more about ensuring the East Midlands has a railway system fit for the 21st Century, that it will have cleaner, faster, more reliable and more efficient trains, that the air in our towns and cities will be cleaner and that it will be fully integrated with HS2 when it arrives in the region in 2033.

“The Government’s own figures have revealed that the East Midlands receives less infrastructure investment per capita than the rest of the country and the Chamber is campaigning to have this increased to the average 100% per capita by 2020.

“As a region we are succeeding despite the Government’s lack of investment, not because of it, and it needs to change.

“Mr Grayling should put electrification of Midland Main Line back on the agenda immediately and show that the Department for Transport is capable of cohesive thinking across all its policies.”