Transport: Freight Services - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:38 pm on 7th January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Berkeley Lord Berkeley Labour 2:38 pm, 7th January 2019

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that Answer, but she has not answered the second part of my Question, about alternative proposals if the Government are not going to do this. Is the Minister aware of the enormous pressure from ports and customers in the north for rail freight to go across the Pennines? PD Ports, which runs Teesport, says that this failure to allow for freight,

“could seriously damage the economic aims of the Northern Powerhouse and would leave an overreliance on the heavily congested M62”.

Perhaps the Minister is going to widen the M62 instead, which would have enormous environmental benefits. Will she give a categorical assurance that this freight upgrade will happen and that freight can start running now, even without the necessary gauge clearance?