26 June 2015
Leicester Green Party reacted with horror to the news that electricifcation of the East Midlands line has been halted indefinitely. The Government has been citing overspends and overruns as excuses. Ministers have been aware of these problems for months, but delayed announcing the abandonment of their transport policy until after the election, and just before the Commons summer recess.
Diesel exhaust from trains passing through Leicester contributes to the air pollution which kills hundreds in this city every year. Electrification means cleaner, and more reliable travel and it will help reduce the cost of running and maintaining the railway. Electric trains are faster and more reliable than diesel trains. On average, electric trains emit 21% less carbon per passenger mile. As we generate more electricity from renewables, this figure will get better.
George Osbourne visited the Midlands just a few weeks ago, describing the Midlands as the UK's 'engine for growth' whilst full knowing he was about to pull the rug from under our feet, and this ‘pause’ seriously jeopardises the economic and environmental future of the Midlands.
Members of Leicester Green Party gathered outside the railway station on 26th June to demonstrate their objection to the news.
Mags Lewis from Leicester Green Party said:
"It is a scandal that Ministers are abandoning their own Transport Policy, sacrificing our economic and environmental future, whilst pressing ahead with the HS2 white elephant. We will never reach realistic CO2 output levels unless we electrify our railway network. Ministers knew about these issues months ago, and kept quiet. They are responsible for overseeing these plans, and cannot simply pass the buck to Network Rail. It is of great environmental and business importance that electricificaton happens as soon as possible.
Leicester Green Party will be doing all they can to protest against and reverse this terrible decision and we will co-operate with environmental groups, unions, businesses, the elected officials of Leicester and Leicestershire, our Mayor and MPs, to coordinate protests, and help ensure we get the decent train infrastructure, which is vital to Leicester's future."