Plans for £116m Portishead to Bristol rail line to be sent to Government next month
PUBLISHED: 14:27 28 August 2019
Plans to reopen the railway line between Bristol and Portishead will be submitted to the Government next month.
A £116million scheme would allow one train an hour to run along the route.
However, a development consent order (DCO) - similar to planning permission - needs to be accepted by a Government inspector before work can begin.
North Somerset Council this afternoon (Wednesday) said the DCO would be submitted by the end of September. A July target date was announced in April.
Its leader Donald Davies said the council was committed to investing in local infrastructure, adding: "The Portishead line is a nationally significant project that will deliver wide ranging environmental and economic benefits to our region."
The project, which includes opening stations in Pill and Portishead's Quays Avenue, has been in the pipeline for the best part of a decade and hindered by spiralling costs and engineering complications.
Commuters have long since called for an alternative route into Bristol than using the Portbury Hundred and no doubt will hope the train project is finally completed.
The works are part of the MetroWest transport scheme which will see the West of England rail network strengthened.
Cllr Davies added: "Once completed, MetroWest Phase One will connect an additional 50,000 residents directly to the national rail network and will improve the level of service for a further 180,000 residents on the Severn Beach and Bath corridors.
"We want to ensure that the DCO application is as strong as possible and we need to be meticulous with regards to the process.
"By addressing these points now, we will save time within the overall programme, and a submission in September should not impact on the 2023 opening date."
The DCO seeks consent to upgrade the freight line through the Avon Gorge and enable the compulsory purchase of private land.
It is expected the Government will take 18 months to consider the order before making a decision.
Work would begin in December 2021 and take about two years.
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: "This is an important milestone in the MetroWest project, which will improve rail services for people living across the region.
"I want the West of England to have the rail network it deserves to help reduce congestion, improve air quality and keep people moving."