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Rail upgrade needed to boost Lake District tourism

March 27, 2017 2:30 PM

The latest figures show that in January there was an 11% increase in overseas visitor numbers to the UK. South Lakeland MP Tim Farron has called for the government to end delays to the Lakes Line electrification so that the area is best-placed to make the most of this opportunity.

Official figures published on Friday show that in January there were 2.85million visits to the UK by overseas residents, representing an 11% increase compared to the year before. However, Tim has warned that without decent transport links the Lake District will not be able to fully take advantage of this opportunity to increase trade.

The electrification of the Lakes line was originally given the go-ahead under the coalition and had been due to take place by 2017, but the government has repeatedly delayed it. It is now unclear when it will happen, and at a meeting with the Rail Minister at the end of last year, Tim was told it could be as late as 2024.

Tim has written to the Transport Secretary to call for the project to be given the immediate green-light.

Tim said: "Tourism is vital to our local economy, supporting thousands of jobs for local people. These figures show that the number of visitors to the UK is rising. This is a massive opportunity for our area, but we need to have high quality transport links to be able to take advantage of that and get people here.

"Electrification would enable our line to be far better integrated with the rest of the network, including to Manchester Airport, and improve access straight to the heart of the Lake District.

"This Conservative government has continually kicked into the long grass the much-needed plans for electrification of the Lakes Line. It must put an end to delays, and give the project the immediate green light."