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SSRA failing to bring leadership - Berkeley

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THE SHADOW Strategic Rail Authority has no strategy to safeguard future infrastructure improvements, according to Rail Freight Group chairman Lord Berkeley this week.

Berkeley said that the continued sale of former British Rail land by Railtrack was evidence of this. 'What is the SRA for?' he asked.

'Where is its strategy? I was hoping it would bring leadership but I don't see any. Particularly on some of the issues surrounding the sale of British Rail land, the SRA is doing nothing. At the moment, the SSRA just seems to be operating hand to mouth.'

Berkeley claimed, for example, that land sold recently to supermarket chain Tesco at Gerrard's Cross, north west of London, would prevent future widening of the line to four tracks as the company planned to build a car park above the Chiltern railway line. He added that there were hundreds of other similar cases.

The RFG has lobbied the SSRA to prevent the sale of this unless it is for transport use but Berkeley said it was the duty of the SSRA to take a lead on such issues.

However, the SSRA said this week that it was formulating its strategy and hoped to publish a report in May. A spokesman added: 'We are taking a much more flexible approach on land issues.'

Richard Thompson

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