Leader responds to Chris Grayling comments in Thursday’s Yorkshire Post
The Leader of Leeds City Council has hit back at Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s response to criticisms of his stance on TransPennine rail electrification.
In a Yorkshire Post article published on Thursday, the Transport Secretary said concerns about his commitment to improving transport in the north were unfounded.
Responding to this claim and others in the article, Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake, said:
“There was nothing in the article to counter the claim he now favours diesel engines over full electrification, which is a downgrade on what ministers have repeatedly promised us for many years now.
“Cities across the north are united in our opposition to any reversal of government commitments previously made to the TransPennine upgrade, Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2. We absolutely must ensure Government gets this message loud and clear before any decisions are made when Parliament returns in the Autumn.
“The Transport Secretary’s attempt to convince people everything is ok completely overlooked the huge imbalance in transport funding for the north compared to London and the South East. As we saw earlier this week from the IPPR , the north would have received £59 billion more over the last decade, had it received the same infrastructure spending per person as London.
“I remain concerned about his comments on hybrid diesel – electric engines for trains. He describes them as cutting edge, but they have been in use since the 1960s, and are likely to be slower and have less seating capacity than full electric trains. The idea of more diesel trains in Leeds Station is particularly concerning, given what we now know about the health effects of diesel fumes.”
Notes to editors:
A recent study by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) North, showed Yorkshire and the Humber would have received £59bn more in infrastructure spending over the last decade if spending per person had matched that of London.