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£16m to electrify Windermere rail line

Windermere, which will have electric trains from 2017 Credit: ITV Border

The Government has announced a £16 million investment to electrify the Windermere rail line in the Lake District.

The 10 mile branch line links the National Park to the west coast main line at Oxenholme. It will be upgraded to allow electric trains to run on the route. The Government says it will mean faster and more reliable journeys.

The work will be carried out by Network Rail as part of its electrification programme across the north. It could be completed by 2017. Other routes being electrified include Manchester to Liverpool, Preston, Leeds and York, and Preston to Blackpool.

The Government says the National Park and the visitors using the railway will be taken into account as the work is carried out.

Campaigners have long called for the line to be electrified to improve the service and protect its future.

“Electrifying this key rail link will support the vital tourism industry in the area, and help us build a stronger economy in the Lake District and beyond."

– Baroness Kramer, Transport Minister

Waste site would bring "long lasting economic benefits" says Baroness Verma

“Geological disposal is the right approach for the long-term, safe and secure management of the UK’s higher activity radioactive waste.

“Hosting a site would bring lasting economic benefits with jobs, opportunities for businesses, and a generous benefits package to support the community.

“We want to make sure those benefits are well understood and supported by all those in the area surrounding any host community.”

– Baroness Verma

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Copeland MP welcomes nuclear waste consultation

Copeland MP Jamie Reed has welcomed the launch of a consultation on the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely siting process:

"Managing radioactive waste safely is one of the most important environmental and economic challenges facing this country and our community. It is morally indefensible to leave this problem for future generations to solve.

"This is a national process - not one centred solely upon West Cumbria and I expect other interested areas to come forward.

"The Department of Energy & Climate Change has learned from the previous process and has listened closely to the West Cumbrian Community and the Sellafield workforce.

"I hope that there is widespread engagement with this consultation and I'm sure that there will be: wherever a GDF is ultimately sited, this is the most important issue facing West Cumbria.

"Nuclear generation is the only form of electricity production determined to manage the waste products it creates. It's strategically essential for the UK and a vitally important part of West Cumbria's future."

– Jamie Reed MP, Copeland

Communities to be represented by local authority

The Government has announced that it wants to change the planning rules surrounding whether an underground nuclear nuclear waste could be built in Cumbria.

The last search for a site came to and end in January after Cumbria County Councillors voted not to pursue the idea.

That was despite district councillors in Copeland and Allerdale wanting to continue the investigation into whether west Cumbria would be a suitable location.

The issue has now come back onto the agenda with a consultation being launched that could lead to Cumbria being looked at again.

"Throughout the revised process being consulted on, communities would be represented by the most local competent authority, (the District Council or unitary authority in England)."

– Government statement

Under the revised process it could be left up to district councils or unitary authorities to decide whether the area wants an underground store.

The Government wants to start a new selection process in 2014.

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Deadline day for snow-hit farmers aid

Farmers who were hit by the severe snow storms during spring only have until the end of the day to apply for government aid.

South of Scotland MSP Jim Hume is urging farmers in Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders to apply for their share of the £6 million aid package.

Thousands of sheep were left buried under massive snow drifts during the snow storms.

"Farmers across the Borders and the south west were hit hard by the very severe weather at a time when their livestock were especially vulnerable.

"This aid package will be a lifeline for many businesses and it's critical that those most in need apply before the Friday deadline."

– Jim Hume MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrats, South of Scotland
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