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Written Statement - Update on the Electrification of the Great Western Main Line

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Ieuan Wyn Jones, Deputy First Minister and Minister for the Economy and Transport

I am providing Assembly Members with an update on the electrification of the Great Western Main Line between Swansea and London.

I am continuing to press the UK Government on the importance of this project and I am maintaining regular contact with the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Wales.

While the responsibility for and funding of this project is a non-devolved matter, my officials are working with their counterparts in Whitehall to help inform the business case that the Department for Transport is preparing, as there are important economic and environmental considerations that are best understood from a Welsh perspective.

We are informed that the Department for Transport has not yet completed the final version of the business case, which we look forward to seeing once finished.  However I am greatly heartened by indications that there are very significant demonstrable benefits to the electrification of the entire route between Swansea and London and that a very positive business case can be made. 

I wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport on Friday 25 February to press the UK Government to conclude the work on its business case and to make a positive decision on the electrification of the route between Swansea and London.  I emphasised again that a decision soon that Swansea to London electrification shall go ahead would be beneficial and would be seen as a positive factor on businesses who would wish to invest in Wales.