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Rail link to Fleetwood

Volume 667: debated on Tuesday 29 October 2019

The petition of the residents of the United Kingdom.

Declares that there is a need in Fleetwood for decent transport links on the grounds of deprivation and poor economy.

The petitioners therefore request the House of Commons to urge the Government to reinstate the Poulton-le-Fylde to Fleetwood rail link.

And the petitioners remain, etc. —[Presented by Cat Smith , Official Report, 3 October 2019; Vol. 664, c. 1468.]


Observations from The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Chris Heaton-Harris):

The Government are working with local authorities and other partners to identify the best new rail projects that can unlock new housing and economic growth, ease overcrowding, meet future demand and offer good value for money. It is also helping them to identify new ways of designing, financing and funding additional rail capacity.

We welcome the news that Wyre, Fleetwood and Blackpool Council are jointly putting together a remit to examine the feasibility of reopening the Fleetwood to Poulton line to enhance public transport links in the area.

As indicated in the Government’s strategic vision for rail, any scheme seeking Government funding will need to demonstrate a strong business case. The Department for Transport will consider proposals on a case by case basis, based on the economic benefits put forward.

Our intention is for more enhancements to be promoted, funded and/or financed by a range of parties. We want to tap into the knowledge and expertise of promoters, investors and local partners and challenge them to identify what the right answer is for their transport needs and where schemes fit best with housing and other Government priorities.

We stand ready to consider a Strategic Outline Business Case for the re-opening of the Fleetwood to Poulton-le-Fylde rail line put forward by local authorities and other partners.

We have set up Transport for the North (TfN) to speak as a single voice for the North on the long-term strategic transport improvements the region needs. TfN recently published its Strategic Transport Plan (STP). It has a wide ranging and ambitious scope setting out connectivity priorities across the North that will help transform economic performance up to 2050. I am sure you will welcome, that enhanced public transport links to Fleetwood has been put forward by TfN as a ‘future potential intervention’ for delivery during the lifetime of the STP. We welcome TFN’s ongoing modelling work to review the phasing of the projects in their investment plan and look forward to taking into consideration the advice from our statutory partner TfN regarding the prioritisation of the Fleetwood to Poulton-le-Fylde scheme.

The Government remain committed to transparent policy making, and in accordance with our commitment to the Transport Select Committee, we have published a document which provide details on schemes currently in development.

This Departmental publication includes schemes which have entered the Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline, but not schemes which have received the decision to deliver (Network Rail’s Final Investment Decision)—details on these schemes can be found in Network Rail’s Enhancement Delivery Plan.