On 16th September 2015 the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke in a debate on the HS2 project. The Bishop questioned the business case and the impact assessment, particularly for the area covered by Chester Diocese.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, HS2 will pass through my diocese from south of Crewe until it reaches Manchester Airport. I read the committee’s report with great interest and was struck, above all, by the levels of uncertainty which evidently still exist around the project.
Continue reading ““Vanity of vanities; all is vanity” – Bishop of Chester asks pointed questions about HS2”
On Thursday 2nd July 2015 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question to Government about reopening rural rail lines.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the evidence recently published in the Campaign to Protect Rural England report Rural Reconnections: The social benefits of rail reopening.
Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about potential benefits of reopening rural rail lines”
On Wednesday 17th June 2015 the House of Lords debated a Government motion in the name of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon “that this House takes note of transport connectivity and infrastructure in the north of England.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate, highlighting transport, infrastructure and investment questions for the east Midlands and Derby diocesan area.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the Minister for his clear, optimistic and encouraging introduction, and associate myself with the noble Lord, Lord Prescott, and his desire for this to proceed quickly and effectively. I declare an interest in that I come from Derby in the east Midlands, so I feel a bit like an interloper in this debate about the north—although part of our diocese is the Peak District, which may just qualify as the north. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby asks Government about transport infrastructure and investment in the East Midlands”
On 6th January 2015 Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what plans the National Health Service has to reduce the number of premature deaths caused by the combined impact of nitrogen dioxide and fine particles emitted by diesel engines’. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Rev Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, with 4.3 million adults and 1.1 million children suffering from the effects of asthma-related conditions, does the Minister agree that we need to look closely at the World Health Organization’s recent news that an increasing number of British cities are now breaching the safe air pollution levels? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about air pollution and asthma”
Lord Spicer asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made any assessment of the future ability of United Kingdom airlines to operate out of Heathrow Airport.
The Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, will the Minister take note of the increased capacity of regional airports in this country—for example, the extended runway at Birmingham? Will she encourage airline users and businesses to use these airports not only for the convenience of British travellers but also for the increased capacity and enjoyment of visitors to this country? Continue reading “Bishop of Birmingham calls for greater use of regional airports to reduce dependency on Heathrow”
A Government statement on the High Speed Two rail project was repeated in the House of Lords on 24th March 2014 by Transport Minister Barioness Kramer. The Bishop of Chester asked a question:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, the spirit of the Statement is in for a penny, in for pound—a lot of pounds, of course—but if it is to be done, it should be done well and quicker. I particularly welcome the extension to Crewe, which is in my diocese, so much sooner; I am sure that the people of Crewe, that noble old railway city, will welcome that warmly. I notice in the Statement, though, that direct trains will be able to run off HS2 to serve north Wales. I have always assumed that the trains on the high-speed rail link will be electric. Does this mean that the Government are announcing plans to electrify the railways beyond Crewe to Chester and into north Wales? If so, when is that going to happen?
Continue reading “Railways: High Speed 2”
Lord Storey asked Her Majesty’s Government what support is given to young people living in rural areas to enable them to travel to school or college.
The Bishop of St Albans asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the Church of England is deeply involved with hundreds of tiny rural schools in sparsely populated areas and is acutely aware of some of the financial difficulties that they face. When such a school has to close, what advice do Her Majesty’s Government give on the educational, financial and environmental issues—to do with sustainability—of transporting these pupils, sometimes very long distances, to the next nearest school?
Baroness Northover: I will write to the right reverend Prelate with details about what happens when these schools are closed. There is a special premium for rural schools of the type that he describes, which have fewer pupils than you might find elsewhere, but I will write with further details.
Baroness Williams of Trafford asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of town-centre parking policies and their impact on local businesses.
The Bishop of Wakefield asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, I want to focus particularly on the impact on small towns, which may not necessarily have trains and buses bringing people into them. Where there are not just large-scale out-of-town developments but also small-scale shopping centres, where it is easy to park for nothing, the impact on the high street is significant. In Mirfield, in the diocese from which I come, free parking has had a very good impact. In Berwick-upon-Tweed, another town I know very well, there is no free parking and that is seriously affecting local businesses. Can we be assured that Her Majesty’s Government will encourage local authorities to look at ways of finding more parking spaces in small towns?
Baroness Stowell of Beeston: The right reverend Prelate is right to raise the issue of more free parking. In a recent report published by Deloitte, more free parking was the single biggest issue raised by people who responded. In examining some options, we are trying to ensure that local people have a greater say in the parking arrangements of their local areas—and, clearly, access to free parking should be one of those things.