Tonight I moved a resolution (see below) at full Council, which was seconded by my colleague Cllr Ian Lewis. Sadly the resolution was voted against by Labour and Lib Dems, including New Labour Councillor, Ron Abbey and Lib Dem Councillor, Dave Mitchell, who both serve on Merseytravel with me and Ian. I had hoped they could put politics to one side, so that together we could benefit the people of Wirral, Wales, and the wider Merseyside community. Clearly I was mistaken!
1. Council recognises and applauds the enormous amount of work, time and money that Merseytravel, the Welsh Assembly Government and other stakeholders have put in to the proposals for the electrification of the Bidston-Wrexham (Borderlands) line.
2. Council recognises that linking the line into the Merseyrail Electrics network will bring significant economic benefits to Wirral, Liverpool city region and North Wales, with the obvious environmental benefits.
3. Council recognises that electrification of the Bidston-Wrexham (Borderlands) line is, and remains a Merseytravel policy.
4. Council is dismayed that the Network Rail assessment of costs for the proposed Bidston-Wrexham (Borderlands) electrification programme, were significantly inflated at £207 million pounds, compared to independent assessments, and have acted as a significant barrier to deliver the electrification programme.
5. Council believes by integrating management of the infrastructure with service delivery, greater efficiencies and investment can be secured for the benefit of local people. Therefore Council further supports the efforts made by Merseytravel to take control of the track of the Merseyrail Network from Network Rail, and welcomes the support of a future Conservative Government for such a pilot scheme on the Merseyrail network.
a) Therefore, Council requests that Merseytravel, working with all other relevant stakeholders, continue to explore all options that may be available to them to deliver electrification of the Bidston Wrexham Line (Borderlands), either in stages, or in its totality, in a format that they believe will be the most cost effective, while bringing the most beneficial results to Wirral, and the wider Merseyside communities.
c) Council also resolves to support any further changes that will make Network Rail more accountable and responsive to its customers, and to local and regional circumstances and priorities.
d) Council is asked to convey the terms of this motion to Merseytravel, and invites the Chief Executive, Director General of Merseytravel to attend a future Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, (to which all elected Members be invited to attend), to give an update on the proposals for the electrification of the Bidston Wrexham Line, and the way forward.