Bedford MP calls on Government to commit to electrification of East West Rail

Mohammad Yasin frustrated with response, slamming it a "non-answer"

By Clare Turner
Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 4:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 4:10 pm

Bedford & Kempston MP Mohammad Yasin has today (Tuesday) asked the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to commit to electrification of East West Rail from day one.

Mr Yasin’s question to the Chancellor was: “The Chancellor claims to want to tackle climate change and improve air quality, including by decarbonising transport. If he is serious, this week of COP 26 is a good opportunity to commit to the new East West Rail line being electrified from day one to avoid the need for diesel locomotives and the future costs of retrofitting. Will he make that commitment today?"

Lucy Frazer, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, replied, saying “he will have seen in the Budget ‘R&D’ funding to commercialise low and zero emission technology” and that she would be happy to meet with him to discuss the issue.

Bedford & Kempston MP Mohammad Yasin

In response, Mr Yasin said: “You will see I shook my head while the Minister talked about research and development funding about some possible future technology because while it's important to look into new ways to decarbonise transport into the future, we know existing technology like rail electrification works.

"I don’t care how we do it, but it's vital that EWR uses green technology from day one.

"The Government simply cannot meet its climate change commitments with its current plans for the railway so it would have been a great opportunity, during the climate change summit for the Chancellor to make a bold announcement today on EWR.

"Instead, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Lucy Frazer gave a non-answer then invited me to get in touch.

"If she can't answer a question on one of the biggest transport infrastructure plans her Government has brought forward, it's clear the Government are not taking rail decarbonisation seriously. No new infrastructure plans should include the use of diesel trains if we are serious about reaching our net zero targets.”