Central Railway’s bid to gain parliamentary approval for a planned
pounds 3 billion rail freight link has gathered speed with its
appointment of media management consultancy Luther Pendragon.
The company, which aims to develop a 180 mile line between the Midlands
and the Channel Tunnel, has recruited the agency for lobbying advice
during the parliamentary passage of its project application. It is also
using independent consultant Aubrey Chalmers to provide part-time media
Central Railway’s proposals need to win approval from both Houses of
Parliament and from a subsequent public inquiry. The parliamentary
debate is likely to be in July.
George Pitcher, Luther Pendragon MD, said the agency was supporting
Central Railway in explaining the ‘beneficial economic and environmental
effect of the line to the communities it will pass through, local
authorities, MPs and the Government’.
Such benefits have been fiercely contested. An 18-strong cross party
group of MPs has already met Transport Secretary Sir George Young to
express concern about the property blight that would result from the
scheme. Around 2,500 properties - most of them residential - would be
affected by the link.
A coalition of 35 local authorities has also expressed opposition. Among
them is Kent County Council which recruited Westminster Strategy to help
present its case to Parliament.