Rail Central (Strategic 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.

Rail Central (Strategic Rail Freight Interchange)

Received 10 December 2018
From Katie Redding

Representation

The Government has four policy objectives in relation to SRFIs

1. Reduce road congestion
2. Reduce carbon emissions
3. Support long term development of effective rail freight logistics distribution
4. Support growth and create employment

Rail Central will fail to meet these objectives for the following reasons:

1. The development is being brought forward on the most congested section of the M1 at a time when a number of other developments are also being brought forward in this area. Congestion on this critical section of road will strangle the strategic road network. The implications for the local roads are severe and there is no effective mitigation or alternative routing in the event of perturbation on the SRN.

2. There are significant carbon emissions associated with the development and operation of a SRFI. All these emissions are new. The only potential carbon benefits are from the transfer of some freight from road to rail. The Applicant has provided a biased carbon assessment using modal shift assumptions that will never materialise, due to many factors, but primarily due to the limited capacity on the West Coast Mainline (WCML). Their aspirations to service 16 trains per day does not align with their intent to prove they can service the minimum of four. Any carbon savings from this modest modal shift will be negated by the increased travel distance of the workforce. The carbon calculation related to employee travel distances is missing from the Applicant’s Sustainability Assessment.

3. The siting of multiple SRFIs in the East Midlands is contrary to the policy intent of delivering a network across the regions and at a wide range of locations. The excess warehouse capacity; the finite capacity on the WCML; the competition for rail paths and clients and the economics of rail freight versus road (at this location) are all sound arguments for NOT building more SRFIs in the Midlands (especially whilst considerable unused capacity still exists). Effective rail freight distribution will be achieved only through strategic oversight of the national landscape. Rail Central is not needed and is in the wrong place to further the development of an effective strategic rail freight network. It will inevitably end up a road based operation.

4. Warehouses are used to store and distribute goods that are primarily imported from overseas. Apart from the jobs that handling and transporting these goods creates, this type of activity does not contribute to growth; the importing of consumer goods is a net outflow of capital. The proven low unemployment rates in the local area mean that a large proportion of any jobs created will be filled by migration from other similar facilities in the locality and by increased in-commuting. The vast increase in logistics jobs will also further unbalance the local economy and create an over-reliance on this industry (which the local planning process has sought to avoid). The development will not attract industry and will damage the local employment market rather than bring any benefits.