How on earth is the public supposed to keep track of what is being proposed when true to Daily Telegraph form you have a journalist like David Millward, who presumably through luck holds the title of Trnsport Editor? Do journalists ever feel the need to dig deeper into the background of information presented to them, or are they just bone lazy? In relation to the story linked to, does it never cross their minds to wonder what is the underlying reason for the government's wish to move people from road to rail? The fact that the two Ministers concerned were Mike Penning and Norman Lamb should have given Millward reason enough.
Some background for Millward as he seems unaware. Transport is a shared competence under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (Article 4) (2) (g); and the harmonisation of transport infrastructure is handled by the Trans-European Network - Transport (TEN-T). On top of which a new White Paper titled "Single European Transport Area - 2050" has just been published in which it is aiming to realise the vision whereby there should be no more conventionally fuelled cars operating in city centres by 2050, shipping emissions to be cut by 40 percent, Aviation industry to have a 40 percent use of low carbon fuels and a 50 percent shift in middle distance journeys from road to rail or other means. The EU says the overall goal for the project is to reduce traffic-related C02 emissions by 60 percent in 2050. A big part of the reduction will come from the effort to achieve zero-C02 transportation in major urban areas, where people travel by car 75 percent of the time.
It may interest Millward to know that presently there are 19 General Acts; 12 Statistics Acts; 42 Transport Infrastructure Acts; 333 Inland Transport Acts; 134 Shipping Acts and 138 Air Transport Acts in existence.*
For current projects in the UK, this webpage will be of interest and it does not take much imagination to link improvements between Ireland and the Continent to realise that HS2 then becomes part of the scheme, even it it is not mentioned as such.
For those who can stand the propoganda, the speech Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the Commission, responsible for transport gave at the press conference on the adoption of the 2050 strategy can be read here.
Penning and Baker are Transport Ministers? Of where, when transport policy is decided in Brussels? Mind you, the same question can be asked, in their respective fields, of David Cameron, William Hague, Theresa May et all where any aspect of government is concerned.
The upshot of all this EU subservience, home-grown political ineptitude, is that it is doubtful we will ever again be able to experience this iconic mode of transport!
* Update: Further evidence of the control the EU has on our transport, especially our railway system, can be found in this excellent piece of research by IPJ on Politics.