[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2006, 19:51 GMT 20:51 UK
MP warns of Eurostar complacency
Eurostar train
Ebbsfleet International Station will take up many of Ashford's services
Labour has been accused of complacency over the axing of Eurostar services from Ashford International station.

It was revealed last month that the station will lose its Brussels and off-peak Paris services next October.

The government has denied the decision will damage the town and has said more than 80% of current demand for services from Ashford would continue to be met.

But in a Commons debate, Ashford Tory MP Damian Green urged it to persuade Eurostar to change its mind.

He told transport minister Tom Harris: "The closure of services from Ashford to Brussels will damage the environment in Kent and will hit government plans to develop Ashford.

'Regeneration effect'

"Eurostar has a licence monopoly of international services. It should be playing a proper role in helping sustainable regeneration throughout east Kent."

Eurostar has said Ashford would retain some peak daily services to Paris and weekly trains to France, while also running high-speed domestic services from 2009.

But speaking later on Wednesday, Mr Green told the BBC that a lot of people were lobbying very hard to put pressure on Eurostar to change its mind.

"The taxpayer has spent 1.8bn on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link as well as the millions of pounds from central government that have been put into Ashford to help regeneration there.

"Now the public accounts committee has said that that 1.8bn can only be justified by the regeneration effect. It can't be justified for transport reasons alone.

"And so anything that puts in some sort of doubt the full regeneration deserves government attention and deserves the government talking to Eurostar and saying 'let's explore this'."

Councils attack Eurostar changes
03 Oct 06 |  England
Security teams on Euro rail link
26 Apr 06 |  England

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific