THE Government has been urged to step in to save the historic Queensbury Tunnel from closure.

During a debate on cycle and walking paths, Bradford South MP Judith Cummins called on the Government to "step in so that this can be stopped”, as it is “just so directly at odds with the Government’s cycling and walking strategy.”

Michael Ellis MP, Minister of State for Transport, responded that he would be contacting Highways England and writing to Mrs Cummins on the issue.

She said: “It was promising to hear that the Minister would be reaching out to Highways England about the Queensbury Tunnel, and I look forward to receiving a full written response from him.

"The Government has talked a lot about promoting cycling and walking as much as possible, so they should be willing to get behind the proposed greenway.”

Mrs Cummins has previously written to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling calling for plans to infill the tunnel to be dropped.

“The tunnel should be the jewel in the crown of a new cycle and walk greenway to connect the great city of Bradford with Halifax, she said.

"We should be taking advantage of our historical asserts to benefit all of us for years to come.”

Her calls for the Government to intervene come as effort to create a foot and cycle connection between the two districts step up a gear, with the publication of an 'advocacy document' to support funding bids. The multi-million pound proposal, which is supported by Bradford and Calderdale councils, Sustrans, the Great Northern Railway Trail Development Group and the Queensbury Tunnel Society, would link communities either side of the ridge which separates the two districts.

Passing close to several schools and colleges, the new route would follow the Thornton Road corridor out of Bradford before disappearing underground into the historic Queensbury railway tunnel. It would then emerge at Holmfield, from where it would head down the valley into Halifax.

Campaigners believe it would become a magnet for tourists as a landmark addition to the country’s cycle network and offer the potential for commuting trips between the Bradford district and Calderdale.

At 1.4 miles in length, Queensbury Tunnel would be the Greenway's focal point and, if re-opened, would be the longest cycling tunnel in the country.

Back in June, Highways England's Historic Railways Estates officially lodged plans to infill the tunnel with Bradford Council and said: “We have now submitted our planning application to Bradford Council for further safety work to close Queensbury Tunnel.

"Phase one of the work is almost complete and involves partial short-term strengthening of the most vulnerable areas within the tunnel and will provide a safe working area, including two areas of previous collapse, for any future work undertaken.

"The safety of the community and our contractors is paramount and the Department for Transport, the owners of the tunnel, agree that this work to close the tunnel should be undertaken as soon as possible.”

Nearly 3,500 objections to the closure have been submitted to the Council.