So we saw your outrage on BBC Midlands Today, we can read the article on www.iccoventry.co.uk, but really shouldn’t you, people of Nuneaton, have known a few simple facts to let you participate in our democratic process ?
OK, so most of the above is a lie so let’s start again. Now are you sitting comfortably ?
Nuneaton has a local government in the form of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and they decide, with your involvement, where, how, and when Nuneaton should change. They have to work within a framework set out by a strategy for the Region, the RSS (Regional Spatial Strategy). Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council take for granted certain fixed things such as the sky, the air, the roads, the parks, compliance of their policy with basic government instruction such as the linkage between transport and land use, the RSS and, until now the railway station. When they think that Bermuda Industrial Estate is to expand, they might assume that a percentage of its visitors will arrive by train and bus or taxi. So they have a plan.
There is another council of course – Warwickshire County Council – and they decide, with your input and that of councillors, what bus services are needed, how road traffic can be accommodated, how to deal with waste, which settlements can cope with more housing and / or employment. They put a lot of effort into preparing a Local Transport Plan (LTP) that must meet the Government rules if they are to be awarded the right sums but they cannot devote funds to railway improvement but there is anyway a lot they take for granted that takes for granted such as the sky, the air, the roads, the RSS, and, until now the railway station.
Then there is the Office of the Rail Regulator who ensures that all the people in the railway are acting properly. Those people are: the companies that own the trains, the companies that lease and run the trains, the company that owns the track and provides space for the trains (Network Rail). Somewhere in the list are the public who fund the Department of Transport (DfT) who arrange which places have trains.
The Department for Transport is responsible for overseeing the planning and management of the UK rail and interurban transport network. The DfT recently published a document ‘The Future of Rail’. The DfT also publishes the Regional Planning Assessment (RPA) for the railway that provides the link between the RSS and planning for the rail industry. The RPA is supposed to be looking 20 years ahead. The document ‘Future for Rail’ is not really the DfT big project as the HLOS is in town. The HLOS (High Level Output Strategy) is explained on the DfT website and is not for public input. The HLOS is a mopping up operation of information from the RPA and from the RUS.
The RUS (Route Utilisation Strategy) has not yet been mentioned. But the RUS is produced by Network Rail. Network Rail do not have responsibility or expertise in transport planning but they know what signals, tracks and stations they have. On the website (www.networkrail.co.uk), Network Rail claim that they consult widely on the RUS so you might expect the RUS to be a Local Transport Plan on rails. Certainly in Nuneaton the RUS has not been consulted on so no suggestions box has graced the station platforms, no cycling, community or other group has been involved, no newspaper has carried adverts. So who are the Stakeholders ? Word from elsewhere is that Network Rail ignores the Council and public by taking no account of the LTP at all.
The RUS might make informative reading but in fact for Nuneaton for the intercity route, the West Coast Main Line’, the RUS has not been published.
So, the train service is being redrawn at Nuneaton to suit an RUS that has not even been published. The railway appears to be a transport mode that is running away with no regulation………maybe the ORR should be told.