Central Railway Project

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15 January 1996.

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Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan , Blaby 12:00, 15 January 1996

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the progress of the Central Railway project. [7451]

Photo of Mr John Watts Mr John Watts , Slough

The promoters of the Central Railway project are preparing an application under the Transport and Works Act 1992.

Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan , Blaby

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. He will know that most hon. Members, and, indeed, most members of the public, share the aim of shifting more freight from the roads to the railways. However, he may not be aware that recent reports in local newspapers, to the effect that an application has already been made by Central Railway plc, have added to the confusion, uncertainty and unhappiness, and especially the blight, along the chosen route. Will my hon. Friend reassure the House and my constituents in Lutterworth and elsewhere that, as soon as an application is made to his Department, the House and the public will get to know about it and the public will have an opportunity to state their views? At the moment, there is tremendous uncertainty and unhappiness along the entire route from Kent to Leicestershire.

Photo of Mr John Watts Mr John Watts , Slough

If an application is made, it is virtually certain that it will be regarded as a scheme of national significance under the 1992 Act. The House would therefore have an opportunity to debate the principle of the scheme.