A local rail campaigner has welcomed a ‘commitment’ by Derry City and Strabane District Council to conduct a feasibility study into extending the rail network.
It is just one of the proposals included in a draft of the Local Development Plan which was launched by the Mayor Colr. Michaela Boyle last week.
The draft plan has a large scope, addresses all issues of planning within the council area and is closely aligned to the Strategic Growth Plan.
The draft states that during the period of the plan, up to 2032, the council will undertake a feasibility study for the extension of the rail network into Strabane, Omagh and Donegal.
Jim McBride, of rail lobby group Into the West, has welcomed this ‘commitment’ but said it is something the council ‘could do now’.
He said that other councils, including Antrim, Banbridge and Craigavon have already commissioned a feasibility study into extending rail lines.
“This could easily be looked at now by Derry and Strabane District Council as an initial stage. The draft plan is very focused on roads but rail is a much more attractive form of travel. It is safer and produces less emissions.”
Mr. McBride added that there needs to be a ‘parity of investment’ in the North and a ‘modal shift’ towards investment in public transport.
“The South has announced a major investment in their rail network and for every £40 spent on public transport here, Scotland gets £100. This has been going on for decades’.
Mr. McBride said Into the West will be making submissions in relation to the draft plan during the public consultation process.
To view the draft plan visit www.derrystrabane.com/ldp