Update, at last!
Been a while folks, sorry about that.
We've been busy behind the scenes, so here's a quick rundown of where we are and what's coming next!
Last time we heard that STPR2 had been published, and unfortunately NE rail was excluded from the draft. That consultation ended this past Friday, thank you to all of you who submitted a response. Our official (8 page) response is now available on the proposals page if you are interested in some bedtime reading.
Just Transition Fund
We were invited to pitch our ideas to the Aberdeen Grampian Chamber of Commerce on how we believe the £500m Just Transition fund should be spent in the North East. Cabinet Minister Richard Lochlead MSP was in attendance as well as delegates from across North East Industries. Towards the end of the session delegates were asked to rank the pitches given and decide they believe how this money should be allocated. Thanks to the stellar pitch by our very own Wyndham Williams, CNER came top of the leaderboard, with delegates voting that they would like to see rail connections to Fraserburgh, Peterhead and St Fergus gas terminal ahead of all other options. To make this result even better, the vote was proportional, delegates had multiple points to allocate to pitches, that 16% is stronger than it seems! Next week make sure you pick up a copy of the AGCC bulletin mag to see their report on the event and CNER. We are in the process of arranging a meeting with AGCC to discuss our plans and see how we can work together to see the North East reconnected.
Meeting the Transport Minister
CNER have secured a face to face meeting with Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth MSP in Dyce, also to be attended by local MSPs Liam Kerr MSP, Gillian Martin MSP and Karen Adam MSP. We are working with all of our local politicians to progress for our campaign's goals, across all parties, and all of our MSPs have been responsive and enthusiastic when engaging with us. We've appreciated the frequency in which North East rail is promoted in the media and parliament, particularly by Gillian Martin MSP, Maggie Chapman MSP and Mercedes Villalba MSP, however, special thanks must go to Liam Kerr MSP, who was instrumental in securing this meeting. CNER will be asking the Transport Minister how the commitment made in the cooperation agreement, that promised a new study examining reconnecting Ellon, Peterhead and Fraserburgh to the rail network, will be fulfilled. We'll be taking the Minister on a brief tour of our proposals and the soon-to-be Dyce Junction, and discussing the potential waiting to be tapped by reconnecting Buchan and upgrading Aberdeen's tunnels. We are looking forward to a positive and constructive meeting with the Minister and her team, and MSPs attending, to put forward the best case for NE rail we can. Look out for an update in June after we meet! Article link:
Up next is the Council Elections, if you haven't registered to vote yet, there's still time! These elections will decide the makeup of both North East councils, but also the makeup of the elected NESTRANS board! Now that the STPR2 consultation has concluded, we'll be focussing on these elections and reaching out to candidates. The best way you can help the campaign right now is to do the same! Get in touch with candidates and ask them to back us if elected, share that on social media and we'll boost it too! If you're curious where each party stands, the P&J's Kieran Beattie did an article asking them last week: https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/transport/4150409/where-each-party-stands-on-rail-links-to-peterhead-fraserburgh-and-ellon/
That's all for now folks! Keep an eye out for some releases from us in the very near future. Thank you all for your continued support, lets get the North East back on track!