Keith Hill MP, Minister at the Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions, has told Michael Fabricant that there will be a Public Inquiry into the track widening proposals made by Railtrack in Armitage and Handsacre. The Minister advised Mr Fabricant that over 1,000 objections had been received including the petition of over 300 names submitted by Mr Fabricant to the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott.
"The final decision is now in the hands of the Government and no longer with Railtrack" says Mr Fabricant. "The inquiry will be held later this year and I hope that John Prescott will support moves to reroute the line to a less harmful area.
"There is a huge strength of feeling against these works in Armitage and Handsacre. There is no question that it will cause considerable disruption to village life during the construction period with roads being blocked off and trucks depositing huge dumps of gravel and other material. Once the works are completed, overhead power lines and very high speed tilting trains will be passing much closer to people’s homes with all the attendant noise and vibration. I believe that an alternative route should be found by-passing the village and other built up areas while minimising the environmental impact on this part of Staffordshire. Such routes are available to Railtrack and it is now up to John Prescott to prove his ‘green credentials’ over this issue".