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Transport: Bedfordshire

Volume 478: debated on Thursday 26 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the relative merits of (a) a guided busway and (b) a reinstated railway between Luton and Dunstable; what account she has taken of (i) climate change policy and (ii) the trend in oil prices in forming her view; and if she will make a statement. (213490)

[holding answer 24 June 2008]: The Luton to Dunstable Busway local transport major scheme is being promoted by Luton borough council. The proposed scheme involves the construction of approximately 12 km of busway, linking the centres of Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis with London Luton airport.

As part of the process of assessing whether the Busway was the best option to progress, I understand that the council evaluated a number of alternative schemes including heavy rail and light rail. The assessment concluded that none of the alternative options provided as good value for money as the Busway.

The scheme was granted initial Government funding approval in December 2003. Following two public inquiries, the scheme secured all its statutory powers in November 2006 under the Transport and Works Act 1992.

The Department for Transport is now currently considering a request from Luton borough council to move the scheme to the next approval stage within the Department's local major scheme process. As part of our assessment of Luton's Conditional Approval bid, the Department will be revisiting the earlier analysis of the environmental and modelling aspects of the scheme in the light of developments since Programme Entry was granted in 2003.