NEWS: Pendragon hitches itself to Central’s freight train

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.

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

relations support.



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.



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