The Government’s 10-point plan to tackle climate change is welcome but is only a start.
We are pleased the plan includes “investing in zero- emissions public transport for the future”.
However, a key omission is the need in the post-Covid vaccine world to take measures to reduce the use of road vehicles and the number of flights, with more journeys transferring to public transport and an increasing amount of freight on to rail.
As a matter of urgency, proposed investment must electrify nearly all the UK rail network.
All main lines and commuter routes into Leeds, Sheffield and Hull should be electrified this decade.
The programme should start with the main trans-Pennine route via Huddersfield and the Midland Main Line to Sheffield and onwards to Leeds.
These to be immediately followed by the other routes identified in the Northern Electrification Task Force report in 2015 and Network Rail’s Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy.
Investment must also include expanding the Sheffield Supertram network and building the long-overdue new tram system around Leeds and Bradford, including the Spen Valley, Otley and Wetherby.
It must also include expanding passenger services in the Castleford and Pontefract areas, a quick start to planned new stations such as Elland and reconnecting towns such as Haxby, Market Weighton, Ripon, Methley, Hipperholme and Stocksbridge to the railway network.
All these would help to create a transport system for Yorkshire that’s clean, green and good for people’s wellbeing, essential for Building Back Better.
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