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HONITON: MP calls for ‘urgent’ rail investment

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Honiton MP Neil Parish has joined with cross-party South West MPs to urge the Government to release funding to strengthen the region’s storm-hit railways.
Mr Parish has asked for more than £30million to be made available to carry out flood resilience works, with parts of the network severely damaged by the recent bad weather.
Passengers travelling to and from Honiton have had to contend with a series of delays during January and February caused by landslips and damages to lines.
In a letter to Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin MP, Mr Parish said: “The South West Peninsula is increasingly southern Britain’s front line for extreme weather – the events of this week have again underlined that fact. There is widespread concern that the Government is failing to grasp the urgency of these repairs.
“Climate change projections warn that such events will occur more frequently up to 2050 and beyond. We need urgent Government investment in our region’s rail infrastructure and services.”
Plans drawn up by Network Rail in early 2013 following another period of severe weather outlined £31.3million worth of work to sure up the region’s rail network against the threat of flooding.
But the funding was omitted from last year’s Autumn Statement and now MPs are calling for the money to be invested urgently.
Mr Parish added: “The immediate effect of the 2012/13 floods has been an estimated £140million cost to the public purse, transport and economy of the Peninsula. The cumulative total will be significantly more when more recent severe weather disruption is taken into account.
“Securing the investment needed for Network Rail’s flood resilience programme for the South West is the urgent priority and a necessary first step in a campaign to deliver the transport infrastructure and services vital to the Peninsula’s future economic security.”


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