The Liberal Democrat candidate for Peterborough has called for UK infrastructure investment to be increased at her party’s conference.
Beki Sellick spoke at the Lib Dem railway debate where she said improving the current network was the right policy, rather than renationalisation.
This included building a station at Hampton in Peterborough.
She also said “radical investment” was needed across the UK for the country to become zero carbon.
The full speech
“Railway privatisation has been made to work and rail passenger use had doubled. But 10 times as many car miles are driven.
“Even if (when) cars are all electric, they’re an under-used waste of embedded carbon (they stay parked 96 per cent of the time, clogging our roads) and they still pollute with rubber tyre and brake disc particulates - to say nothing of the spent battery legacy they’ll create.
“We need to bring UK rail infrastructure investment up to international levels. We need to enable rail freight’s tiny market share to grow (pulling heavy lorries off our roads) and we need passenger capacity to at least double again in the next decade and onto 2045. We need to build the capacity to restore the reliability that’s plateaued and eroding now the railway’s full, so we can attract goods out of lorries and people out of cars to reach our zero carbon vision.
“Lib Dem policy should enable government at all levels to fix the bits of our railway that are broken and that others can’t or won’t fix. Infrastructure investment is the most broken bit. We need investment for three things:
. Public sector investment in widespread strategic electrification and government commitment to its own long term plans and EU engagement (from within) to benefit from cost-effective standardisation
. Strong and stable government strategy to enable private sector investment, including long franchises (learning from the longest, Chiltern’s 25 year term which was the most successful, delivering a huge step change in capacity with community engagement and extra lines to great passenger growth in numbers and satisfaction)
. Positive innovation and industry investment (including different transport modes like buses and cycling), with railways doing what they do best (mass transit and long distance for commuters, business and leisure), within a sustainable transport system.
Lib Dems are on the right track (rightly rejecting renationalisation for the sake of it) and improving local connectivity (better accessibility for all) and specifics like four-tracking from Peterborough to Huntingdon to enable a station at Hampton. We need radical investment across the UK to get us to zero carbon on time.”