Projected capital costs of the scheme have risen to £152m following delays to approval of the scheme’s Development Consent Order (DCO) and unprecedented global increases to the cost of energy, labour and construction materials. The DCO includes planning consent, environmental consent and the compulsory acquisition of land and is required before all nationally significant infrastructure projects can be built.
Both the council and WECA are seeking to commit an additional £10m to the project to bridge the funding shortfall and deliver the scheme, and are asking the DfT to close the remaining £15.5m funding gap.
Councillor Steve Bridger, Leader of North Somerset Council and Executive Member for Major Projects said: “Portishead rail remains one of our key schemes with the potential to transform the area by getting cars off the road, providing access to jobs and contributing to sustainable economic growth.
“Despite the frustrating recent delays beyond our control, we remain committed to working together with our partners and to lobbying Government to help address any funding shortfall. That is why we are looking to pledge an additional £10m of investment into the scheme, boosting connectivity and cutting journey times so that more North Somerset residents can seize the opportunities in our growing region.
“We will continue to work hard to push and progress the scheme, so that the residents of Portishead can finally see the line become a reality.”
The council decision to commit the additional £10m in funding will be taken at July’s Full Council meeting. The additional funding will be subject to DfT approval of the scheme’s full business case and confirmation of both WECA and the DfT’s funding commitments.
The reopened rail line between Portishead and Bristol would bring over 50,000 people back into the direct catchment area of a rail station for the first time in over 60 years. To read more about the scheme, visit travelwest.info/projects/metrowest.