EU Opportunity To Get High Speed Rail On The Right Track

27 December 2011

Alyn Smith MEP and Aileen McLeod MSP have today called on the UK Government to access the EU’s Ten-T budget as a possible mechanism to fund Scotland’s High-Speed rail ambitions, as well as a host of other projects.

Earlier this month saw the publication of Fast Track Scotland, the business case for bringing High Speed rail to Scotland. Alyn Smith and Aileen McLeod have now said that there is potential to utilise the EU’s Ten-T budget to make the rail connection reality and have written to the UK Secretary of State for Transport Justine Greening asking her to investigate.

The EU Trans-European Network - Transport scheme (TEN-T) was set up by the EU in order to provide more efficient transport and infrastructure links between Member States for the movement of goods and people. A high-speed rail link connecting Scotland with the proposed line in the Midlands could well win a grant as the line will connect in London with the Eurostar to France.

Commenting, Alyn said:

"The economic case for a High Speed Rail link connecting Scotland to the rest of the UK and the continent is undeniable.

"The UK is already well behind the curve when it comes to High Speed Rail and the lacklustre plans of the Westminster Government will only see Scotland fall further behind the rest of the world.

"There is, however, an opportunity to get on the right track and the publication of this economic argument is a crucial step.

"The European Union offers an opportunity with the TEN-T budget which is aimed at providing an improved European network, exactly what Scotland needs and what High Speed Rail would do.

"This funding stream is available not just for High Speed Rail but for a host of projects the length and breadth of Scotland. However it is being put at risk because of Cameron’s disastrous approach to the European Union. It’s time that the UK Government actually sit up and take note of the pluses that membership of the European community can bring."

Dr Aileen McLeod added:

"Ten-T provides an invaluable amount of support in improving transport in Scotland and also providing better connections to our European neighbours.

"Improving our transport and infrastructure is correctly on the Scottish Government’s and the European Union’s priority list. By working together, across parties and across governments we can ensure that we are successful in delivering what Scotland needs.

"Not only will our economy grow but our collective environment will also improve through a reduced reliance on air travel and it is also of course a positive step forward in our efforts to interconnect the European Union.

"In reality Scotland cannot afford for this not to be given the go ahead. The plans - as they stand - to stop the line in the West Midlands is lunacy, what we need is a more ambitious, more appropriate network."

More information on TEN-T can be found here:

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/infrastructure/index_en.htm