In Treasury questions today (1st December), Michael Fabricant questioned Treasury Minister, Kemi Badenoch, on the reopening of the Lichfield to Burton rail line for passenger traffic.
He asked “What fiscal steps she is taking to support investment in (a) hydrogen fuel cell usage in the automotive industry and (b) the UK’s hydrogen economy.”
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Kemi Badenoch, replied: “The Government is supporting the development of the early fuel cell electric vehicle market though the £23 million Hydrogen for Transport Programme. The Spending Review also confirmed an Automotive Transformation Fund to help industry transition to low-carbon vehicles.
“Also at the Spending Review, the Chancellor announced £240 million over the next four years to support the aim of five gigawatts of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030.”
Michael Fabricant then asked: “The West Midlands Rail Executive and I are both very keen to re-establish the Lichfield to Burton railway line, which currently is used just for freight traffic, for passenger traffic; it will stop too at the National Memorial Arboretum. The plan is that the locomotives will be fuel cell hydrogen-powered.
“Doesn’t my Honourable Friend agree with me that the levelling-up fund would be an ideal fund for this project?”
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Kemi Badenoch, said: “My Honourable Friend is as ever a great champion for his local area. I understand Transport for West Midlands in partnership with Staffordshire Council and the local rail executive have already engaged with the Restoring Your Railway Fund regarding the specific proposal he is referencing, and the Department of Transport has announced there will be a further round of bidding for the fund, which they should be able to participate in.
“Other aspects of the proposal may be eligible for support from the £4 billion levelling up fund which he mentions, and the Government will set out more details on eligibility in due course.”