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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 11:51 GMT
Merseyside tram system plan axed
Artist's impression of Merseytram
The first trams were planned for 2008
Merseyside's much-troubled plans for a tram system will not go ahead, the government has announced.

A 170m fund promised for Merseytram by Transport Minister Derek Twigg has now been withdrawn.

He said assurances from local councils that no more funding would be requested once the lump sum had been put forward were "not forthcoming".

Liverpool City Council said it was "bitterly disappointed", and the government's demands were too rigid.

It was hoped that the first tram line from Liverpool city centre to Kirkby would be on track for Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture in 2008.

Two further routes to Whiston Hospital and Liverpool John Lennon Airport were to follow.

Contingency fund

Mr Twigg said that the government remained committed to investing in Merseyside.

"If there are good value schemes that can be taken forward quickly to benefit Merseyside - we will look at them," he said.

Both Liverpool and Knowsley councils had already agreed to underwrite a 24m contingency fund.

Mr Twigg added: "The councils have only offered a capped commitment. Above that they have asked us to rely on assurances from Merseytravel.
This is a real blow
Paul Clein
Liverpool City Council

"This is not what we have asked for. Therefore we cannot be confident that there will not be further requests for funding, and we have decided that the scheme should not proceed."

Acting council leader Paul Clein said the government's decision not to add any more than 170m made it difficult to save the scheme.

He added: "This is a real blow to Liverpool and Merseyside's attempts to have a more efficient and environmentally-friendly public transport system and the responsibility for that lies squarely with the government.

"Merseytram has run into the buffers because of the intransigence of the government."

Earlier this month, plans for a tram system through the streets of Leeds were also turned down by the Department of Transport.

Government delays cash for trams
17 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Blair asked to approve Merseytram
06 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Councils agree to underwrite tram
04 Nov 05 |  Merseyside
Authority wants more time on tram
28 Oct 05 |  Merseyside
Trams 'will run in culture year'
08 Sep 05 |  Merseyside
Fight begins to save Merseytram
14 Jun 05 |  Merseyside

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