SELRAP (Skipton-East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership) accuses government of 'ignoring' East Lancashire in HS2 compensation projects
and live on Freeview channel 276
Prime minister Rishi Sunak recently announced at the Conservative Prty conference in Manchester that the remaining leg of the long-running High Speed Rail 2 project has been scrapped.
Instead, the prime minister said the £36 billion prioritised for the northern leg would be spent on “compensation” projects across the north and midlands.
However, local campaign group SELRAP (Skipton-East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership) have reacted with anger to what has transpired since.
SELRAP chairman Peter Bryson said: “The government’s long list of HS2 compensation transport projects, designed to ‘Level Up’ the country, completely ignores East Lancashire yet again.
“Astonishingly, Accrington, right in the heart of East Lancashire, was where the prime minister and chancellor relaunched the Conservative Party’s election manifesto commitment to Levelling Up. East Lancashire is one of the most deprived places in England. Yet, not a penny promised.”
SELRAP has been working with government ministers, civil servants and Network Rail to reinstate the strategic trans-Pennine Skipton to Colne railway.
Mr Bryson added: “If this government wants a public transport project that is tailor-made to level up deprived communities, then the Skipton to Colne project is it.
“This project requires a tiny fraction of the funding just released by the cancellation of HS2. Members of Parliament along the route all fully support this vital project and they want it delivered quickly. The government needs to put the money where its mouth is.
“Restoring the Skipton to Colne railway would open up a new, strategic trans-Pennine route linking deprived East Lancashire with the powerhouse cities of Leeds and Bradford.”
Pendle Tory MP Andrew Stephenson, a long-time backer of HS2, has not responded to a Burnley Express request for comment on the latest development.
In February 2020 Mr Stephenson was appointed as a Minister of State at the Department for Transport, responsible for HS2, the Transpennine Route Upgrade and Northern Powerhouse Rail projects.
The Department for Transport and Network Rail have already developed a business case for the Skipton to Colne project, which would cost around £300m.