During a House of Commons Transport questions session earlier today, Dr Neil Hudson MP questioned the Minister of State for Transport on the promotion of cycling and walking. Dr Hudson made the wider point that encouraging people to enjoy these activities in Cumbria will provide a well-needed boon to the visitor economy in the region.
Dr Hudson asked:
“In Cumbria we are spoilt for choice when it comes to walking and cycle routes, such as The Hadrian’s Wall Trail, Coast to Coast and countless Wainwrights. As well as being hugely important for physical and mental health, many businesses in my constituency depend on tourism and by encouraging visitors it will assist the recovery of these businesses. Does my Honourable Friend agree that now is a great time to enjoy the beautiful Cumbrian countryside by walking and cycling, and that longer term projects like re-opening Gilsland Railway Station will improve the accessibility and connectivity of our region which will make these activities easier to enjoy?”
Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Minister of State for Transport, replied:
“Yes I absolutely do encourage people to cycle and walk in Cumbria. I welcome the bid for funding from Gilsland Station and visited it only last Thursday to see what it looks like for myself. I will announce, in due course, whether the bid has been successful and if successful the money will unlock funding for a Strategic Outline Business Case that could see fantastic development for a station that has huge potential for tourism and other things.”
After the Commons session Dr Hudson commented:
“I was delighted with the response the Transport Minister issued. Walking and cycling are clearly activities that the government is going to great lengths to promote. Alongside these activities being important for a healthy lifestyle, I am always happy to fly the flag for Cumbria as a fantastic place to visit. To improve accessibility to this beautiful part of the world it is crucial that projects such as the re-opening of Gisland Railway Station are part of a broader strategy to enhance the connectivity of the region. I and my colleague and neighbour Guy Opperman MP will continue to work hard together on this long term project.”