We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

North Devon MP leads SW MPs in rail funding call

February 11, 2014 10:38 AM

Nick Harvey, MP for North Devon, has called on the Government to release urgent funding to strengthen the South West's railways against severe weather.

In a letter signed by cross-party South West MPs, Nick and his colleagues asked Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin to make £31.3million in funding available today for flood resilience works - the estimated cost of works after severe weather in 2012/13.

The £31.3m investment - set out in plans last year by Network Rail - was left out of December's Autumn Statement. With renewed flood damage and continuing severe weather in the last few weeks, MPs have called for the funding as an immediate priority, with a view to further investment to protect the Peninsula's rail links in future.

Commenting, Nick said:

"The recent severe weather flood damage to our railways in places like Dawlish has underlined the vulnerability of the South West's rail network. Rightly, people in North Devon are becoming increasingly worried about how easily the South West Peninsula can become cut off from the rest of the country during severe weather events.

"It's time the Government grasped the urgency of the situation. The crucial first step is to release the £31.3m in flood resilience funding they've already publicly committed to. Of course, once the damage of the last few weeks has been properly assessed the total bill for repairs and resilience works is going to go up. The South West Peninsula appears to have become southern Britain's frontline for extreme weather and it's vital our rail links can withstand further storms.

"The region's LEPs have issued a report warning that this kind of infrastructural and economic damage is set to increase under climate change projections, so it's a matter of investing now for the future. We cannot risk leaving the South West's communities isolated and the Government must now prioritise this investment."