Ford questions Government over railway plans

South Antrim Alliance Councillor David Ford has called on the Department of the Environment to reverse their decision to re-appraise the direct railway line scheme between Antrim and Belfast.

Councillor Ford, who is the Alliance Party spokesman for Rural Development, urged Environment Minister Lord Dubs to “use his influence” and press ahead with the project.

Mr. Ford was responding to a letter from Translink stating that the DoE had requires a further re-appraisal of the “Bleach Green Line”. He also said that Lord Dubs should review “all relevant factors” relating to the project.

Councillor Ford said: “What is the hold up? This railway scheme would be of immense benefit to the people of Antrim – especially in relation to the development of Aldergrove International Airport.

“The development of Aldergrove is of major importance and if it brings in 15,000 new jobs, then it’s imperative that our public transport system is upgraded to meet the demands of this development.

“I’m sure the people of Templepatrick don’t want 30,000 cars roaming through their village every day.

“We have a major traffic problem between Antrim and Belfast and the re-opening of the line would, I believe, encourage many motorists to leave their cars at home and use public transport.

“I think the DoE should give an indication of when the project will commence because this campaign has been going on for long enough. I would hope that the government would realise – both economically and financially – the importance of this project.”

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