§ Mr. Leadbitter
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list in the Official Report the number of representations made to him objecting to the proposal to close the Settle to Carlisle line and the dates of those representations; what meetings he has had with organisations and persons and with British Rail; if he will indicate what further consideration is planned; and when a decision is likely to be made.
§ Mr. David Mitchell
Since the British Railways board announced its proposal to close the Settle to Carlisle line278W in December 1983 the Department of Transport has received around 1,800 individual representations about the proposal, most of which oppose closure. We have also received a petition of over 40,000 signatures against the proposal. It would be an unjustifiable expense to list the date of each objection.
I have had a number of discussions about the proposal with various organisations, including the board. I have attended meetings of local representatives in Carlisle, Appleby and Settle, and inspected stations and structures on the line.
In reaching our decision we shall consider all the relevant factors including the representations made to us, the board's case for closure, the report of the transport users consultative committees on hardship, and the wider social and economic considerations. I cannot say how long this will take.