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MPs ask for views on CP6 funding structures by December

The Transport Select Committee is today launching an inquiry into Britain’s rail infrastructure, focusing on Network Rail’s use of public investment.

This inquiry comes on the back of transport secretary Chris Grayling announcing that his department has allocated £48bn of grants and network rail income for use across the UK’s network in CP6, although just £35bn of this cash pot will come from the government itself.

Cost overruns from CP5 mean around £3.4bn of renewals are likely to be postponed into CP6, and the committee will aim to discover the reasoning behind this and limit the scale of this issue in future.

As part of the process, the inquiry will accept submissions which offer more information or a new perspective on NR’s current system of planning and delivering investment in rail infrastructure.

Specifically, it will be interested in the effects of postponing renewals work from one control period to the next. In addition, there will be questions surrounding the adequacy of the control period process and its usefulness in enabling the delivery of long-term rail infrastructure objectives.

The committee is also likely to investigate the current disparity in regional funding across the country, with a focus on devolution as a method to restore balance of investment and planning.

Lilian Greenwood, chair of the Transport Committee, explained: “Government has started work on funding and spending plans for Network Rail in CP6. This should address the failures of the current control period: scrapped electrification and enhancement projects; uncompleted work tipping from the current control period to the next; and deep disquiet about differences in regional funding.

“We will consider whether the mechanism of control periods is the best way to manage investment in rail infrastructure.

“At a time when UK passengers have seen ticket prices rising far faster than their wages, the committee will examine whether the current system of planning and delivering investment is giving us the infrastructure we need if we are to have a modern 21st-century railway.”

Greenwood is also asking for opinions on the implications of the government’s policy on increasing the share of private sector financing in rail infrastructure, as well as questioning the current barriers to private sector investment and whether work could be done to remove them.

Submissions to the committee can be made here before the deadline of 18 December.

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Paul   14/11/2017 at 11:50

Control Periods hamper funding and are not suitable for managing long term investment, NR should be accountable for demonstrating that they can deliver on time and to budget but the government should not be allowed to changed priorities half way through a CP such as deferring or cancelling electrification projects

Jimbo   14/11/2017 at 14:53

@Paul - If the scope, timescales or costs of a project change significantly, then the project owner has the right to change, defer or cancel the project. NR basically sucked up all the available money and time that was allocated for all the electrification projects and spent it on the first one. I don't like the cancellation of electrification projects, but NR's huge cockup left the government with little choice but to cancel the rest.

Melvyn   14/11/2017 at 19:14

Sir Peter Hendy suggested that following the problems with large project electrification that in the future electrification should be done like track renewal with an annual budget to allow a rolling programme of electrification to be undertaken. So perhaps a sum should be allocated for electrification which Network Rail could then use to expand electrification be it new schemes or indeed in fill schemes which can offer both better VFM and often release DMUs which currently spend much of their time on electrified routes as per DMUs from London Bridge and Waterloo Stations which could be replaced by hybrid trains able to use 3rd rail from London and then DMU at country end with electric operation extended as 3rd rail/ AC overhead is installed .

Noam Bleicher   15/11/2017 at 17:55

I can see some drawbacks with the CP system, but do we really want to back to the annual settlements BR had to put up with?

Noam   16/11/2017 at 08:28

Turning to the drawbacks of the CP system, is there a case for it to cover maintenance, renewals and schemes up to the size of, say, the Norton Bridge project, but set up separate companies for larger projects, on the Crossrail model?

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