Government 'Letting Down' South Lakes Over Electrification Delays - Farron
South Lakeland MP Tim Farron has criticised the government for "letting down" the north of England, after a government minister indicated that the electrification of the Lakes Line will not be delivered on time.
In 2014, following a long campaign by Tim, Lib Dem Transport Minister Baroness Kramer announced that the Lakes Line electrification would go ahead. The £16million project to electrify the line between Oxenholme and Windermere had originally been due to be completed by 2017.
However, in a letter to Tim, Department for Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP has indicated this will not be the case. Whilst he stressed that he is "not currently able to speak definitively about timescales", he said that the decision about "how long it will take to construct, test and deliver the scheme" is "scheduled for March 2017". At this date, "Network Rail will confirm delivery dates for electrification of the Lakes Line." Following this announcement, the project will still need to be delivered, meaning that it is highly unlikely to be completed within the original timescale.
There had been ongoing concerns about the timeframe for the project slipping behind schedule, and Tim had written to the Minister to demand clarification and push the case for the original completion date.
Tim said: "In the budget, the Chancellor made grand announcements about transport infrastructure in the north, yet the government is dragging its feet about a scheme which should already be in the pipeline.
"The original plan was to complete the project by 2017; the government is now only saying that it will complete the plans by then. Again, we have lots of talk and no action from a government that is not taking seriously its promises to the north of England.
"The Lakes Line electrification will provide an economic boost and be better for the environment - the government must stop putting it off and actually invest the money needed to deliver this project."