A GREEN MEP has attacked the Government’s future transport projects – including a new diesel-powered train line and a potential £3bn expressway.

Keith Taylor said the Government’s ‘car as king’ approach to transport infrastructure was antiquated and would be environmentally destructive.

The East West Rail project, which will cost about £520m, seeks to connect Oxford to Cambridge by rail.

But last September, it was revealed that the Government had been told by Network Rail to remove any prospect that the project would be powered by electricity.

Any trains running on that line will be powered by diesel instead.

Concerns over cost and the timescale of the electrification project were the reasons given for using diesel.

Meanwhile, Highways England is pressing on with plans to formalise a path for the Oxford to Cambridge expressway road, which a Government body has said is a vital strand of a project to ensure economic growth between the two cities continues.

But Mr Taylor, who represents South East England, said: “The situation is painfully symptomatic of the Government’s antiquated and environmentally-destructive ‘car as king’ approach to transport infrastructure.”

“It is profoundly irresponsible for the Transport Secretary (Chris Grayling) to prioritise, in the midst of an air quality crisis, a multibillion pound road building project that is guaranteed to put more cars on our roads spewing out toxic fumes.

“We desperately need proper investment in projects like the originally-planned electrified East West Rail route.”

“I’m insisting Chris Grayling reconsiders the doubly raw deal he’s about to hand our region.

“Our cities and towns deserve better than a rail project that is so underfunded it will be out-of-date as soon as it’s completed, despite being a vital regional link.

“And they certainly deserve better than an already outmoded road building project, imposed on the region from on high, and doomed to fail—even on its own terms.”

The National Infrastructure Commission said there is a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ to seize on potential investment between Oxford and Cambridge and said part of that would mean building the expressway by 2030.

Calls for a public inquiry from Oxfordshire County Council and nearly 30 parish councils have been made to the Government in preparation of further plans over the development of the expressway, including what route it will take through Oxfordshire.

The Department for Transport was contacted for a comment over Mr Taylor’s criticisms.