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Support for Smart Growth UK report on safeguarding rail lines

Published 15 April 2020 by Transform Scotland

Transform Scotland are very happy to support the publication of Smart Growth UK’s new report ‘Defending our lines: safeguarding railways for reopening’.

The convenor of our Policy Forum, Paul Tetlaw, has written a foreword for the report, in which he writes:

“We very much welcome this report and the key messages which highlight the urgent need to protect our railway infrastructure and plan for expansion of the railway network.

“It is clear that protection through planning policies has been woefully inadequate or non-existent. While it appears that the devolved administrations may have been more proactive than England, it remains the case that many thousands of miles of 19th century railway infrastructure has been abandoned and destroyed. Sadly in the 21st century we continue to allow development on former rail corridors making the cost of future reopenings that much greater.

“As this report makes clear, we now need to urgently undertake a full survey of all former rail routes to see what remains and introduce protection through the planning system to ensure that no more is lost.

“Having done that a strategic plan for the long term development of the railway must follow. This will likely entail the reopening of some former routes and the creation of new ones. This will no doubt be a mix of light and heavy rail systems and needs to reflect the huge changes in society and settlement patterns since the era of large scale closures.

“The report goes on to suggest which lines should be considered for reopening and that should stimulate discussion and most critically action from governments and devolved administrations.

“Whilst our principal focus remains the railway within Scotland and Anglo-Scottish routes we fully endorse the UK wide approach adopted in the report.”