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Rail Infrastructure

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 13 June 2006

Responsibility for the condition of railway embankments is an operational matter for Network Rail. Responsibility for the condition of stations is shared between Network Rail and the train operating companies. In addition, franchise agreements require the train operators to keep their stations in a clean condition.

Is my hon. Friend aware of the amount of fly-tipping and dumping of rubbish taking place on railway banks and land around stations in Cardiff, particularly next to Lisvane station in my constituency, where sewage pipes, fallen lamp-posts, television sets and a whole load of cans are dumped? Things are similar at Llandaff North station.

My hon. Friend raises important local matters, which all hon. Members know are of direct concern to her and her constituents. Through my discussions with her, I am aware of the instances that she mentions. It may be helpful to say that the land is owned by Network Rail and leased to Arriva Trains Wales, which is responsible for removing the litter and fly-tipped material. I know of my hon. Friend’s considerable efforts on behalf of her constituents, and I will be pleased to assist her further by raising the matter with Arriva Trains Wales.

Is the Minister aware that pesticide run-off, which is often a big problem on the rail network and with highways weed control, is often blamed on farmers? Will she work with Network Rail to try to minimise that problem as, despite the fact that the problem is not caused by farmers, it may result in some important pesticides being limited for agricultural use?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for making that point. It would be helpful to me, in pursuing the matter, if he gave me some specific examples. As he says, bank maintenance is a matter for Network Rail, which is more than willing to arrange meetings with any Members of Parliament who have particular concerns. I would be happy to facilitate that for him.

I am sure that my hon. Friend will agree that the condition of a city’s railway station plays an incredibly important role, as it provides the first impression, and the last memory, for many visitors. Will she therefore join me in calling on the relevant authorities to support my campaign to upgrade Dundee’s Tay Bridge station, which has lain in a neglected state for many years now?

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is also Secretary of State for Scotland, so clearly he is aware—as I am—of the importance of the campaign. From my experience, I share the view that the condition of stations is important both for visitors’ perceptions and for our constituents who use the stations as residents.