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Last edited 19 Feb 2020
ECA backs joint rail electrification statement
On 19 February 2020, representative bodies covering businesses, passengers, freight, and community groups published an open letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, calling for him to kick-start an ambitious rolling programme of rail electrification, if the Government wants to deliver on its aim of decarbonising UK rail by 2040.
The representative bodies, which represent thousands of businesses and organisations, have urged the Government to end the ‘stop-start’ nature of past electrification schemes and to introduce a ring-fenced rolling programme fund that allows the rail industry to extend electrified track over several years. They have called on the Government to act before current electrification schemes, including in the Midlands and Wales, are completed after which – without other schemes to move on to – many skills and expertise will be lost.
Darren Shirley, Chief Executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “The scale and pace of rail electrification must increase if legally binding carbon emission targets are to be met and air quality improved in towns and cities. Rail is currently the greenest major form of transport, but will cede that leading position undoing wider efforts to reduce carbon emissions unless the Government commits to a rolling programme of electrification. The Government should introduce a ring-fenced fund in the upcoming Budget with a longer-term settlement in the Spending Review so that communities can reap the benefits of cleaner train services."
Alasdair Reisner, Chief executive at CECA, said: “It is essential that the UK moves swiftly to meet its carbon reduction commitments. Our transport network provides one of the biggest areas of opportunity in this regard, and rail electrification is an essential part of this.”
Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) Energy Advisor Luke Osborne said: “The UK’s railway system, particularly in the North, is in desperate need of investment and decarbonisation to bring it into the 21st Century. Electrification of the railways is fundamental to getting zero carbon done.”
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