Eurostar services campaign petition reaches 47,000 milestonePublished: 08/02/2024
Over 47,000 people have signed a petition calling for the return of Eurostar services.
They join a growing number of voices from across the county and beyond expressing their desire for the services to return, with over 600 businesses filling in a business survey, Ashford MP Damian Green raising the issue in the House of Commons and many council and business leaders adding their support to the campaign.
The campaign petition to bring Eurostar services back to Ashford International Station began in March 2023, and continues to gather support, reaching a significant milestone. The group behind The Bring Back Eurotrains petition said:
“It's great to see the number of people who have got behind this petition, which is a clear indication of the demand from people across the South East for international train services from Kent’s two existing international stations.
“The Bring Back Eurotrains group is regularly contacted by residents in Kent and beyond who have been affected by the loss of this service and are concerned about the impact this is having on the region’s economy.
“We hope that we can help provide a collective voice for the residents and show any international rail service provider the substantial opportunities of running services that link the regional hub stations of Ashford and Ebbsfleet to Calais, Lille, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and beyond.”
If you would like to see the Eurostar trains servicing our Kent International stations again please sign the online petition. Please also share this within your local communities and encourage friends and family to do the same. If you would like to get more involved, share any information or help in any way please email email@example.com.
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 residents and businesses, we will continue our fight to bring Eurostar services back.”
Over 600 businesses give their views on the lack of international rail services
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 600 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.
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.
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 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.”
Campaign reaches House of Commons
Ashford MP Damian Green instigated a debate in the House of Commons last month on international rail services in Kent.
This received support from Minister of State for Rail at the Department for Transport Huw Merriman, and MPs from across Kent, East Sussex and South London to find a resolution as well as a commitment to work alongside his officials on their return.