6 February 2014: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley)repeated a Statement made by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
during the ensuing debate.....
Lord Faulkner of Worcester: My Lords, I reinforce what my noble friend Lord Whitty said about the importance to Devon and Cornwall of the reinstatement of the main railway line that has been washed away at Dawlish. I declare an interest as a member of the First Great Western stakeholder board. Businesses are quoted this morning as saying that every day that the line is closed is costing them £30 million, so any delay beyond six weeks for its reinstatement will have a devastating effect on those economies—it is not just Cornwall; it is not just Plymouth; it is the whole of Torbay as well. I urge the Government to make sure that Network Rail is given every possible resource it needs to reinstate the line.
Looking a little further ahead, will the Minister consider the need for a possible new alignment that takes the line at the coast inland? It is something that Isambard Kingdom Brunel looked at but felt was not necessary. He thought that his wall would survive for ever, but, as we have seen with the weather of recent days, that might not be the case. Another possibility would be the reopening of the old Southern Railway line to Plymouth, which would at least give an alternative route through from Exeter.
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