18th May 2021: Lord Faulkner of Worcester:

My question on railway electrification.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab) [V]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Railway Industry Association Why Rail Electrification?, published on 22 April.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question in my name on the Order Paper and remind the House of my railway interests as declared in the register.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Vere of Norbiton) (Con)

My Lords, the Government welcome this report and agree that further electrification is required to decarbonise the railway, alongside the deployment of hydrogen and battery trains on some lines. In the last three years, we have completed almost 700 miles of electrification in England and Wales, and we will continue to do more.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Lab) [V]

My Lords, I welcome that Answer. The Railway Industry Association report is indeed excellent and the case it makes for a rolling programme of electrification is unanswerable. Can the Minister confirm that the Government are committed to decarbonising the railway by no later than 2050? If so, do they accept that the most effective and beneficial way to deliver that is a steady, stable stream of electrification of between 400 and 500 kilometres each year? Will she and her ministerial colleagues in the DfT do their utmost to resist the Treasury’s efforts again to kick this into the long grass and water it all down by putting it off into the spending review?

A link to the complete debate here