Treasury blocks £30bn plan to electrify Britain’s railways – Daily Telegraph
Fears that net-zero transport won’t be achieved by the 2050 target without investment into electrified railway
Oliver Gill – 11 December 2021
The Treasury has blocked a £30bn blueprint to electrify Britain’s railways, raising doubts over Boris Johnson’s target for a net-zero train network by 2050.
The plans, first circulated in Whitehall nearly 18 months ago, have been shelved on fears that the cost cannot be justified in the wake of the pandemic, according to industry insiders.
Sir John Armitt, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, warned: “2050 isn’t getting any further away and we need a detailed and costed plan for ensuring rail is decarbonised.”
The original report underlined the importance of taking action immediately to meet climate change commitments. It also highlighted how Britain’s railways remain far more dependent on diesel locomotives compared with countries on the Continent.
Called the Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy (TDNS), the rail blueprint proposed electrifying 12,500 km of railway over the next 30 years with a further 1,400 km of track dedicated to hydrogen trains and 1,000 km which will be battery-powered.