Northampton Gateway Rail Freight Interchange

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

Northampton Gateway Rail Freight Interchange

Received 17 July 2018
From Stephen Michael Blyth


I strongly object to the application for a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) south-west of M1 J15, Northampton Gateway, on the following main grounds:

1) It would destroy 200+ hectares of arable fields, hedges, footpaths, and woodland.

2) The change of use would convert rural landscape into an industrial site.

3) It would destroy and fragment wildlife habitats and corridors at the Main Site, and on the route of the proposed Roade bypass.

4) The proposed site, midway between centres of production/consumption (London and Birmingham) is not in accordance with policy: to locate SRFIs at major nodes.

5) The carbon footprint of products handled on site, needlessly magnified by mislocation, would breach environmental policies and climate change protocols.

6) The site is close to Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT) (Phase III now under construction) with capacity to meet all regional demand in the foreseeable future. The purported strategic role of Northampton Gateway is therefore redundant.

7) The application is a modification of previously rejected warehouse plans, with a token rail freight facility bolted on in order to comply with SRFI criteria.

8) Tenants would be under no obligation to use rail rather than road. A maximum 10% of throughput is expected to travel by rail - not the intended modal shift.

9) The site would emit toxic gases 24/7 into designated AQMAs, plus particles, vibration, noise and light. Unquantifiable legal liabilities could stem from resultant health issues.

10) The negligible local workforce would lead to in-commuting from remote populations with multiple environmental and health disbenefits.

11) The already congested road network, despite mitigation, could not accommodate 16,000+ additional daily traffic movements. Gridlock would ensue on feeder roads during frequent, unpredictable M1 closures.

12) It is not demonstrated that the West Coast Main and Northampton Loop Lines could accommodate site freight traffic without reducing passenger schedules.

13) There is small evidence of alternative site research in regions inadequately served by SRFIs – eg the Northern Powerhouse – as required by policy.

14) The site would transgress Northampton’s south-western M1 boundary, providing an undesirable precedent for urban sprawl within and beyond an important green gap.

15) Bounded by the M1 and West Coast Main and Loop Lines, site operations could only expand southwards along the A508.

16) The application contravenes the local Joint Core Strategy which earmarks other industrial land in more appropriate locations.

17) The cumulative effect, taking account of Rail Central’s M1 J15A site, would be impossible conditions on the M1 and rail network - already the busiest in the UK. Emergency Services would at best be hampered, at worst unable to attend incidents.

18) The construction phase would create multiple environmental disbenefits. For instance, work on Roade bypass would commence only when the site had 30% occupancy, lasting over a year. Major disruption of A508 traffic would be inevitable.

In conclusion, for the above and many more reasons I ask that the application be rejected.