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Councils aiming for 1,000 businesses to give their views on the lack of international rail services

Published: 19/12/2023
Eurostar train

Kent County Council (KCC) is repeating its call to business and trade leaders to give their views on how international rail services to Europe, not currently stopping in Kent, have affected firms.

In October, KCC, supported by Ashford Borough Council and Dartford Borough Council, launched a business survey to understand the impact international rail services not calling in the county is having on business and trade in Europe. The survey has had a good level of response so far, with more than 500 responses from businesses across the county and beyond. The councils thank those businesses that have already responded to the survey.

KCC’s ambition is to see the number of responses increase further to 1,000. The council is calling on more businesses to complete the survey to help it make the best case possible for a return of stopping services.

International rail services provided a unique opportunity to the county before 2020 and it is important the case is made again to ensure the investment in Kent’s international rail network is exploited to drive economic growth and new opportunities.

KCC’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Neil Baker, said: “We are really pleased with the response we have had to our survey so far.

“In order to build the best case possible, we have an ambition to hear from many more business and trade leaders affected by the lack of international rail services.

“If you are involved in the running of a business then please take part in our survey to make sure you have your say.”

Leader of Ashford Borough Council, Cllr Noel Ovenden, said: “Rail services at Ashford International Station are not only important for existing businesses and travellers, but they are also important for our future commercial investments.

“Significant investment has been made over the last 25 years in infrastructure to ensure international services are able to operate to support business and leisure travel to Europe, so it is imperative that the benefits of this investment are realised through services returning. 

“With the valuable support of local businesses and residents, we will continue our fight to bring Eurostar services back.”

Leader of Dartford Borough Council, Jeremy Kite, said: “It’s vital that international rail services return to Ebbsfleet and Ashford. We need this unique infrastructure to get back up and running in Kent and we’re grateful to all of the businesses that have responded so far.

“If you haven’t had a chance yet, please do make sure you have your say by the end of December.”

The survey will run until the end of December this year and should take about 10 minutes to complete.

Visit Kent County Council's website to take part in the survey.