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Thursday, 8 October 2009

Re-open the Woodhead Line - LDF submission

‘Reopen the ‘Woodhead Railway Line Campaign’ have submitted a response to the consultation for the Peak District Local Development Framework.

It outlines our case for the Woodhead Rail Route with the relevant environmental, economic and social benefits the line would bring.

The full text can be read below....


Re: Peak District National Park Authority Local Development Framework

I am writing on behalf of the ‘Reopen the ‘Woodhead Railway Line Campaign’ in response to the consultation for the Peak District Local Development Framework.

We are a group representing communities on the route, city and regions served by the route, and organisations with an interest in the development of the route.

We believe that opening the Woodhead Rail Route would make common sense as it would deliver enormous benefits including the following:

Reduced environmental impact on the National Park
Improved sustainable access to the Peak District National Park
Socio-Economic and Environmental Benefits for communities along the route
Socio-Economic and Environmental Benefits for the conurbations served at each end of the route
Improved logistical movement of people and goods across the North of England

The Consultation sets out options for adoption by the Peak District National Park Authority for its Local Development Framework. We wish for the continued adoption of Option T6.2 as set out in the consultation.

We would like the LDF to retain the strategies of

Safeguarding the Woodhead Tunnels for future rail use
Safeguarding the route between Dunford Bridge and Hadfield, likewise.

We believe that the rail route should be developable for a multi-purpose railway providing local services (improving links with local communities), longer distance services (improving Trans-Pennine accessibility) and freight services (enabling modal shift from road to rail reducing the impact of traffic).

To assist in the adverse impact of reinstatement on the National Park from re-instatement we would also like to see the LDF address the following issues:

Possible measures to preserve the Victorian tunnels so that the future use for rail travel along side or otherwise with electricity transmission is a possibility, and,
Development of potential alternative routeings for the Trans-Pennine Trail and other trails served by the line of the rail route.

Furthermore, we would argue that the re-opening of this rail route would represent “exceptional circumstances” as defined in Option T6.3. Not least of the “exceptional circumstances” being the adverse impacts of traffic and road, which are already affecting significant locations within the National Park.

If you could incorporate these issues into the LDF, you would be serving the interests of this wide group.

Yours Sincerely

Chris Bell
on behalf of the Re-Open Woodhead Group