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 31 December 2018
From Henry Christopher Newby

Representation

Please see below an outline of the principal submissions I intend to make in relation to the application – an application against which I must object in the strongest possible terms:
• Within 'An introduction to Rail Central, January 2016', the Applicant stated that: “The rationale for this site is driven entirely by its strategic location and direct connections to key rail and road networks”. The Applicant has failed to prove the case for the site’s “strategic location”.
• The Applicant’s Alternative Site Assessment (ASA) has been wholly inadequate.
• The Applicant has also failed to prove the case for “market demand”. The Midlands is already well-served by the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT) – the country’s premier road and rail distribution hub – and will soon also be served by the East Midlands Gateway Rail Freight Interchange (EMGRFI). There is, therefore, a very real risk of significant over-supply in the Midlands, whilst other regions continue to be poorly served (for example the South-East).
• The 'National Policy Statement for National Networks, December 2014' sets out “the need for an expanded network of large SRFIs across the regions”. This need will not be addressed by establishing a cluster of SRFIs in the Midlands.
• The Applicant has failed to provide sufficient evidence of the ability of the rail network to support its proposals. The capacity of the West Coast Mainline is already severely constrained.
• The Applicant has acknowledged that: “Road traffic using the local road network will increase during the construction and decommissioning phases and also during the operational phase of the project” - 'Rail Central – Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR): Stage 1 Part 1, April 2016'. Despite this, the Applicant has failed to demonstrate that it has taken reasonable steps to mitigate the impacts on the surrounding transport infrastructure to acceptable levels including transport networks.
• The Applicant has failed to provide sufficient evidence that: “Overall, Rail Central will result in a net reduction of HGV movements on the UK strategic highway” – 'Welcome: Consulting the community' document published by the Applicant.
• The Applicant has failed to provide sufficient evidence of “the existence of an available and economic local workforce”.
• The proposed development is not in accordance with the local development plan (West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy).
• The site is far too close to residential accommodation and the resulting noise, light, vibration and air quality issues will have a significant effect on the health, wellbeing and quality of life of the local population.
• The proposed development would lead to the destruction of 250 ha of open countryside and would result in a marked and permanent change to the landscape in the vicinity of the site, which could not be fully mitigated by landscaping, whilst also harming the character and appearance of the wider area.
• The Applicant has also failed to provide sufficient evidence of its ability to prevent rat-running and village intrusion during both the construction and operational phases of the proposed development.