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Local MP, Angela Smith has joined with protestors and 60 other MPs to lobby government to force National Grid to change its mind on laying electricity transmission cables through the newest of the Woodhead tunnels.

Angela Smith, along with many other organisations believes it would be wrong to use the 1953 tunnel for electricity cables. Commenting Angela, said ďA cross-Pennine route for transport is still part of statutory plans and is suggested in the Governmentís White Paper, Delivering a Sustainable Railway. The only suitable route is the 1953 tunnel.

The Northern way group believes this route is vital part of the strategic plans for the North of England. It is looking at re-opening the 1950s tunnel for freight rail traffic as part of ambitious plans to link the north of Englandís cities by wide gauge rail. This would allow the major ports of the Humber to be directly connected to the manufacturing centres of the North West, North East, and South Yorkshire. If National Grid is allowed to put high voltage cables in this tunnel these major strategic plans would be put at risk. This is a view also shared by Sheffield City Council who voted to keep the 1953 tunnel available for transport.Ē

Angela has written to both the Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly MP and National grid asking for all plans to lay cables to be put on hold until an independent assessment of the future use of the 1953 tunnel can be made and she is calling for a full debate on the future of the tunnel in parliament.

While National Grid has said the two Victorian Tunnels will be made available for transport from 2011. Angela believes this is totally unacceptable as neither of these tunnels are wide enough for moderns wide gauge trains and by National Grids own admission the tunnels are in an extremely poor condition and are deteriorating quickly and proving expensive to maintain.

Entrance to the tunnel

Entrance to the tunnel

Issued : 15 January 2008

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