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Challenges and opportunities discussed in talks with Minister Friday July 7, 2023

Talks this week with the government minister responsible for light rail have seen UKTram highlight challenges faced by the sector while enabling it to press home the case for future growth.

During a meeting in Westminster, Richard Holden MP received an update on the work of the organisation representing the sector as part of wide-ranging discussions with James Hammett, UKTram’s Managing Director, and its Interim Chair, Lindsay Murphy.

The Transport Minister also provided an insight into the government’s view that increased regional devolution provided a real opportunity for more UK cities to embrace light rail.

James Hammett, explained: “As well as listening to our concerns about rising energy costs and other challenges faced by existing networks, the minister expressed his belief that devolution would enable metropolitan and regional authorities to make their own decisions on local transport issues.”

“This would enable them to deliver future schemes independent of central government, speeding up the process.

“During the meeting we were also able to update him on the work of our Centre of Excellence, which assists sponsors of proposed schemes to develop a solid business case for their plans, and he was very enthusiastic about the support it provides.”

Other topics discussed included the impact of anti-social behaviour on light rail networks, the measures operators are taking to tackle it and the help they need from other agencies such as the police.

“We also presented the Minister with our recently published business plan update, which sets out UKTram’s priorities for the next few years and highlighted our acclaimed strategy for the future of light rail in the UK,” James added.