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Protesting in the new age

Enviro-group uses mobiles, web to let commuters' voices be heard

Environment Charity Friends of the Earth today launched a campaign to address the serious lack of funding in Britain's railways.

The country-wide campaign invites train users to voice their opinions by sending a text message to 07764 125125 or by logging on to www.stoptrainrobbery.com.

"For the first time [people] can make their feelings known right at the heart of the government," said Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth's transport campaigner. "We hope that our text messaging action finally brings home to ministers that it is past time to put in the public money and management effort needed to rescue Britain's railways."

Communications company Textback will convert all text messages, costing ten pence each, into emails which will then be forwarded onto the Treasury, addressed to Gordon Brown. Online comments will go directly to the Chancellor.

SMS voting is a good way of expressing opinion as it is quick, easy and allows people to communicate their opinion at the time it's come up. Local governments in Liverpool and Sheffield will introduce SMS and internet voting in local elections this May.

The Office of Public Services Reform, which advises Gordon Brown and the Prime Minister on how public service reforms can best be achieved, said it welcomed "any suggestions which offered possible ways of improving public services".

Friends of the Earth will be pushing its campaign at railway stations across the country over the course of the week, starting at London Euston and York station today. It will include banners, fly posters and lamppost notices with slogans such as "Don't let Gordon 'Fingers' Brown take the railways for a ride".

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