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Keswick to Penrith Railway Re-opening

The Politics Page

WHO  DOES  WHAT  POLITICALLY

In the UK Local Government system there are several layers -
Counties, Districts, Parishes and a National Park are all found in this area.
There is no "chain of command" - each level has its own responsibilities and budgets. 


Key to the whole process is Cumbria County Council -
with their endorsement in the Local Transport Plan and related policies,
all the other steps become possible. 


NATIONAL GOVERNMENT

Grants powers to build and operate any public service railway anywhere in the UK.
Usual methods are Transport and Works Order (TWO) or Private Bill in Parliament.
Seeks confirmation of acceptability and support at local level.
Special scrutiny of any scheme felt to be a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). 
Keswick to Penrith Railway does not fall into that category.
Decides how funding for transport will be distributed and controlled by Local Authorities.
 
 
NATIONAL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS

Scrutinise applications for powers to build and operate railways.
Can provide advice and guidance to ensure compliance with legal and policy requirements.
Do not lobby or offer support.
 
 
MPs and MEPs

Provide a means of communication and co-ordination between various levels of Government.
Can assist, advise, advocate and influence to facilitate smooth progress of schemes which benefit their constituencies.
Can identify sources of funding and facilitate dialogue with project promoters.
 
 
CUMBRIA COUNTY COUNCIL

The Local Transport Authority (LTA) for the whole of Cumbria.
Produces the Local Transport Plan (LTP), a five-yearly vision of what the County needs, how it can be implemented and by whom (not just its own actions). Basis for future budgets.
Manages a budget for development and support of transport within the County.
Works on joint strategies with the Lake District National Park Authority.
Consulted by national Government on transport and resources planning matters including applications for developments which can only be granted at national level.
Consults Districts, Boroughs, Towns and Parishes on planning issues.
Can make contracts with transport operators to provide specific levels of service.
Overview of natural resources planning (forestry, quarrying etc.) including transport access.
Can access funding to support transport development (construction and operation).
 
 
CUMBRIA LOCAL ENTERPRISE PARTNERSHIP (LEP)

Replaces the Northwest Regional Development Agency in Cumbria.
Primary channel for National Government and European funding for local distribution.
Can co-ordinate sources of funding for developments which enhance the local economy.
Considered by national Government as the main channel for advocating and guiding useful local economic development which combines various authorities and local business interests.
Should actively engage with all levels of local Government, community and special interest groups to ensure spending reflects local needs and ambitions.
 
 
CUMBRIA TOURISM

Overview of tourism business interests.
Provides advice and guidance for local businesses to meet tourist needs and comply with standards. Advocates best practice, local marketing strategies. 
Seen by national Government as the advocate for developments which would enhance tourism as a key component of the local economy.
 
 
LAKE DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY (LDNPA)

Works on joint strategies with Cumbria County Council.
Controls land use planning for Keswick to Penruddock section of the line.
Consults Districts, Boroughs, Towns and Parishes on planning issues.
Formally protected the trackbed for future sustainable transport use.
Controls environmental impact – “Low Carbon Lake District” report identified re-opening of the railway from Penrith to Keswick or Cockermouth as a significant contribution to future planning, including designation of Keswick as a “transport hub”.
Overview of economic development.
Can raise funds for infrastructure development via Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1970 (“Section 106 contributions”) levied on major developments within its area.
Can access funding to support transport development (construction and operation).
 
 
ALLERDALE BOROUGH COUNCIL

Local Authority for the western end of the line (Keswick to Threlkeld).
Land use planning on all of this section is controlled by the LDNPA.
Consults Towns, Parishes and special interest groups on planning issues.
Seen by national Government as the advocate for developments which would enhance opportunities for the local community and support the local economy.
Controls local service delivery.
Can raise funds for infrastructure development via Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1970 (“Section 106 contributions”) levied on major developments within its area.
Can access funding to support transport development (construction and operation).


EDEN DISTRICT COUNCIL

Local Authority for the eastern end of the line (Troutbeck to Penrith).
Controls land use planning for Penruddock to Penrith section of the line.
Land use planning is controlled by the LDNPA between Troutbeck and Penruddock.
Consults Towns, Parishes and special interest groups on planning issues.
Seen by national Government as the advocate for developments which would enhance opportunities for the local community and support the local economy.
Controls local service delivery.
Can raise funds for infrastructure development via Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1970 (“Section 106 contributions”) levied on major developments within its area.
Can access funding to support transport development (construction and operation).
 
 
KESWICK TOWN COUNCIL

Reflects the views of the whole local community.
Consulted by County, District and National Park Authorities on planning issues.
Consults Parishes and special interest groups on planning issues.
Controls some local service delivery.
Produced the Keswick Master Plan which includes re-instatement of the railway as a supporting project.
Produced the Keswick Business Plan.
Has some access to small scale funds to augment transport services (operations).
 
 
PARISH COUNCILS

Reflect the views of the local communities.
Highlight specific local needs and concerns.
Consulted by County, District and National Park Authorities on planning issues.
Have some access to small scale funds to augment transport services (operations).
 
 
BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS (BIDs)

Driven by local businesses to advocate, support and generate funding for projects which enhance the local economy but would not otherwise be delivered by Local Authorities.
May be consulted on service delivery issues by Local Authorities (no obligation).
Should be consulted by project promoters and operators to ensure they provide the most relevant services for local communities (no obligation). 
 
 
 
LOCAL BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS
 
For example:
* Tourism Associations
* Chambers of Trade
* Business Associations
* Civic Societies
* Environmental Interest groups
 
Reflect the views of various sectors of the local community.
Sources of opinion to advise, lobby and influence all levels of Government.
May be consulted by Local Authorities on planning issues (no obligation).
Should be consulted by project promoters and operators to ensure they provide the most relevant services for local communities (no obligation). 




NOTES – LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK for a railway in the UK

A public service railway in the UK can only be authorised by national Government.
All UK railways (passenger and freight) are overseen by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) for commercial fairness and for safety (via the Railway Inspectorate).
The Railway Standards and Safety Board (RSSB) issues the technical standards and rules by which all railways in the UK must be built and operated. Standards incorporate European inter-operability requirements. 
A number of Train Operators have franchise contracts with the Department for Transport (DfT) to operate specific services on the national rail network (lines and stations managed by Network Rail). Those Train Operators are free to operate additional services at their own commercial risk on the national network and on other routes managed by private concerns. 
Other Train Operators exist who do not provide franchised services but are licensed to carry passengers. A local example is the West Coast Railway Co. based at Carnforth which operates charter and special train services all over the UK.
The Railways Act 1992 provides the framework for private concerns to provide railway infrastructure (lines and stations) alongside or connected to the national rail network.  The same standards and rules apply to all Infrastructure Operators in the UK whether publicly or privately controlled.  Relaxations and concessions apply only to isolated “heritage” railways which operate at lower speeds and do not provide regular public services.
More recent localisation legislation gives Local Transport Authorities opportunities to influence or develop public transport of all kinds, including train services, within their own areas or jointly on a regional basis.  Such groupings of Authorities would complement the Passenger Transport Authorities (PTAs) which already exist in major conurbations.
Planning Permission granted at local authority level is not sufficient to authorise a railway which carries fare paying passengers.





Keeping relevant people in all these bodies fully informed is a major task.
Councillors and MPs stand for re-election at regular intervals.
  
Council Officers and Civil Service personnel also come and go - and it is less easy to find lists of them. 

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The "key player" for the next steps is Cumbria County Council

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