Environmental laws don’t have to mean the end of the line for steam trains, peers say
Steam trains risk being killed by new environmental laws, peers have warned.
Peers have asked for assurances that heritage steam enthusiasts will still be allowed to burn coal after new climate legislation comes into effect.
The peers urged the government to include an exemption in the environmental bill for steam railways, ships, vehicles and historic buildings.
There are plans to phase out coal-based electricity generation by October 2024, and restrictions on domestic coal combustion have also been introduced. The government has said heritage transportation will still be allowed to use fossil fuel, but its peers have urged it to legislate it.
Speaking at committee stage of the bill, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, a Conservative peer and former minister, said she feared “a mistake could be made”. She added: “This is important because this bill could result in the death of Thomas the Tank Engine and its nautical steamboat equivalent.”
Lord Faulkner of Worcester, a Labor peer and president of the Heritage Railway Association, said he wanted ministerial assurance that the heritage steam business “will be allowed to continue to burn coal”.
“This guarantee should be placed in the bill and enshrined in law when it is finally adopted,” he added.
Lord Bradshaw, a Liberal Democrat peer and former railway worker, said: “Steam locomotives, in particular, and associated steam engines used elsewhere are generally now maintained to the highest standards by the most enthusiastic people and they attract many tourists in the most remote areas. parts of the country. “
Former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, who is chairman of the Steam Boat Association of Great Britain and owns a steamboat, said: ‘Can the minister explain why she is not ready to include in the historic vehicle exemption bill of the kind she says the government has committed to? “
In response, Conservative President Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist said: “I can confirm that heritage vehicles are not covered by the law, and that includes trains and boats.”
Local authorities could also exempt historic homes in smoke control areas, she said, adding: “The government is not doing anything that would impact heritage vehicles, and it would not consider upgrading do anything that would.An exemption is just not necessary because these are not within the scope of the bill.