A LOCAL authority is set to to step up the pressure on the government to fast track the reinstatement of a trans-Pennine rail link closed 50 years ago.

On Thursday Hyndburn Council's full meeting will debate a call to ask ministers to repeat its backing for the scheme to bring back the link between Colne and Skipton at the end of the East Lancashire Line.

There has been growing concern that the scheme has been downgraded by the government during the coronavirus pandemic.

Now Labour councillors Noordad Aziz (Netherton ward) and Dave Parkins (Huncoat) have put down a motion for debate at Thursday's meeting.

It reads: "This council for a number of years has supported the reopening of the Skipton to Colne rail line and resolves to write to the Department of Transport to reiterate its support for this project and ask that Government uses the approval as a key part of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

"This project will not only open up the rail network in the North but improves East-West connectivity on a congested rail network.

"The line will drive economic and social mobility in East Lancashire and provide a boost to some of the most deprived communities.

"We have seen the benefits of the Todmorden Curve to Hyndburn and East Lancashire and the Council recognise that the Skipton to Colne rail link will have a similar impact."

In November Pendle Council wrote to the government about its concerns that plans to reinstate the Colne to Skipton rail link had stalled.