Enquiry received via email

Northampton Gateway Rail Freight Interchange

19 January 2018
Alan Hargreaves


We write regarding two schemes for SRFIs at Milton Northants, namely Roxhill (Northampton Gateway) and (Rail Central) Ashfield Land, both developers have now clearly indicated that their proposals are running on very similar time lines Roxhill having commenced Phase 2 consultation and Ashfield Land indicating Phase 2 consultation expected in Q1/2 2018.
We write with regard to the potential adverse cumulative impacts the interrelationship of both schemes, now running it appears concurrently, may have.
We have referred to PINS advice note 17 “Cumulative Effects Assessment”(CEA)in section 1.3 reference is specifically made to environmental effects, and in section 1.4 Advice note 17 PINS also state “When considering cumulative effects the ES should provide information on how the effects of the applicants proposal would combine and interact with the effects of other development”.
Could PINS confirm if the Cumulative impact relating to the practical aspects of the scheme(as well as environmental issues),which in this instance is two SRFIs potentially connecting into the same very limited Northampton Loop of the WCML, would be deemed to fall under Advice note 17 1.4 and thereby would need to be considered by both developers, and given the importance of Rail connectivity should this be dealt with in this pre application period.
We would appreciate your advice on this

Advice given

If a proposed development requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be submitted as part of the application, the EIA Regulations necessitate that the applicant undertakes an assessment of cumulative effects, and considers alternatives to the proposed development. The assessment of cumulative effects would take into account other reasonably foreseeable schemes including any other relevant Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP). Both developers are undertaking an EIA and will therefore submit an Environmental Statement as part of their application.
It would be for the Applicant for each scheme to make the case for, and to assess the impacts of, their proposed development taking into consideration the cumulative effects of the relevant built, consented and/or proposed developments as appropriate at the time that their application is lodged. Each case would be judged on its individual merits, where the appointed Examining Authority (ExA) would assess the material of the Applicant’s application documents and submissions received during the Examination (should the application be Accepted for Examination by the Secretary of State (SoS) via the Acceptance process) from interested parties.
You made reference specifically to section 1.4 of Advice Note 17, however we would encourage you to review the document in its entirety as it provides more information on cumulative effects assessment and includes the proposed methodology for Applicants to consider when reviewing cumulative effects.
The Applicants for both the Northampton Gateway and Rail Central SRFI proposal, have confirmed that they would be undertaking a cumulative assessment which would include the others proposal and therefore this matter is being considered/dealt with at the pre-application stage. We would encourage you to review the meeting notes published on both project pages (Northampton Gateway Rail Freight Interchange and Rail Central SRFI) to have sight of discussions held between the Planning Inspectorate and the Applicants regarding their respective proposals. It is therefore safe to assume that as both Applicant’s would be considering each other’s proposal and their possible cumulative effects, that the decision maker (the SoS) would be equipped with an assessment of the likely cumulative effects associated with both schemes including if they were both operational.
It is essential to note, that when making a decision on whether or not to grant consent for an NSIP, the SoS will have regard to any important and relevant matter; as will the ExA appointed to examine an application and report to the SoS. The impact of a proposal on existing uses and its compatibility with other developments is a matter that could be raised in submissions and could be capable of being relevant and important.