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Author Topic: DfT To Set Up National Networks Strategy Group  (Read 2204 times)
Lee
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« on: October 29, 2008, 05:51:51 pm »

Quote from the link below :
http://www.dft.gov.uk/press/speechesstatements/statements/wmsnationalnetworks

Quote from: Geoff Hoon
The Minister of State, Lord Adonis, will chair a National Networks Strategy Group, with senior partners from the Highways Agency, Network Rail, HM Treasury and other Government Departments as required.  I have asked that the Group focus on two issues.  First, how to make best use of the existing key networks, for example, by the selective extension of rail electrification or the wider implementation of hard shoulder running on our motorways to provide additional capacity for motorists and to give them greater reliability and choice.

Alongside this, the study will focus on longer term solutions for the strategic corridors. This will include consideration of wholly new rail lines, including high speed rail.  We are committed to developing a modern sustainable rail system that supports economic growth, including housing development, and the climate change agenda.  New lines have great potential and it is important that we start now to plan for future growth.

However, it is crucial that the case for such investment is underpinned by robust evidence on long-term demand projections and a clear understanding of the capacity of the existing networks, and takes full account of relevant geographical, technical and environmental considerations.  The National Networks Strategy Group will build on the work on new lines being undertaken by Network Rail.

This programme of work will be taken forward immediately.  I have asked Lord Adonis to report on progress early in 2009.
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2008, 11:01:22 pm »

From the Financial Times:

Quote
Geoff Hoon, newly-appointed transport secretary, yesterday threw his weight behind rail electrification and a potential network of high-speed lines - barely 15 months after his predecessor largely ruled out both options in a white paper on the railway industry, writes Robert Wright .

On the day he announced a National Networks Strategy Group to advise on the development of UK infrastructure, Mr Hoon told the Financial Times: "I want us to be getting on with things like electrification . . . I think we have to have a discussion about high-speed rail links."

Mr Hoon stressed that the new group - to be chaired by Lord Adonis, minister of state at the Department for Transport - would not only be looking at rail projects. It would also look at improving road capacity.

However, the rail aspects will attract most attention because they contradict the stance of July 2007's white paper. Published under Ruth Kelly, Mr Hoon's predecessor, the document said a decision on new, high-speed rail lines could wait for another 15 years.

The white paper also largely rejected the case for further rail electrification, saying modern diesel trains remained a good option for most currently unelectrified routes. The UK's last big route electrification was completed in 1991 - pre-rail privatisation - on the East Coast Main Line from London to Edinburgh.

Figures regarding how much Network Rail, owner of the national network, can spend between 2009 and 2014 will be published today, with a ruling by the Office of Rail Regulation. Network Rail's funding will not include money for any electrification or high-speed rail.

However, there were still ways that work on electrification could be funded, Mr Hoon suggested. He looks likely to argue that some of the work would fund itself through savings on train maintenance and extra efficiency.

"I've seen some of the early work on electrification," Mr Hoon said. "I see nothing in that work that suggests to me we can't move ahead quite quickly."

Electrification would also help the environment, Mr Hoon added. "The time is obviously right, for environmental and other reasons, to give that a push," he said.

It would take longer to plan and build high-speed and other new rail routes, he added. However, he rejected the idea put forward by the Conservative party at its conference this year that a high-speed rail line from London to Manchester and Leeds could remove the need for a third runway at London's Heathrow airport.

"It's complete and utter nonsense," he said. "You only have to look at the needs. For example, their figures are based on substituting something like 60,000 flights. There are only 13,000 flights from London to Manchester and Leeds every year."

See http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/23ff61a6-a622-11dd-9d26-000077b07658.html?nclick_check=1
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