A reminder to the government today that Bath is still waiting for its electrified railway line.
It came during an exchange between our MP, Wera Hobhouse – who is also transport spokesperson for the Lib Dems – and the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper.
The Bath MP put to the Minister that the Government has been failing to reach Network Rail’s track electrification targets which are necessary to reach Net Zero. Last year, the Government only managed to electrify 1.4 miles of track.
This is 99.5% off Network Rail’s target of 278 miles per year. At the current pace, the railways will not be totally electrified until way into the 2090s, over 40 years too late. Mrs Hobhouse added that Bath was still waiting for its electrified railway line.
The future for electrified rail looks bleak. The new East West Rail development, due to come online in 2025, has had its electrification plans abandoned and will run solely diesel trains.
In response to the MP for Bath’s question, the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper, praised the Government’s efforts in electrifying the network. He said that 1,200 miles had been electrified since 2010. However, he did not mention that the Government had failed to meet Network Rail’s 278 mile target in 10 years.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for all new rail lines to be built electric as standard and to institute a new rail upgrade programme to ensure cleaner, faster trains in the future.
Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath and Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson, commented:
“Once again, the Government has displayed its complacency when it comes to Net Zero. Our vital climate targets are not like buses, once we miss one there is not just another one we can catch. The Government’s negligence is putting our future at risk.
“For the Transport Secretary to stand there and celebrate the Conservative Government’s miserable record on creating a Net Zero railway is simply astonishing. He must know that there is no way to spin this – his Government is just failing.
“The Liberal Democrats know that an efficient public transport network is one of the keys to completing our green transition. That is why we are calling for all new railways to be built as electrified ones and we would implement a new rail upgrade plan, ensuring a cleaner, faster and better rail network which is fit for the future.”