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.


Received 08 January 2018
From Trevor Hutchinson Planning and Transportation Limited on behalf of London Gateway Port Limited


We believe there is a need to consider the capability of the regional/national rail network to provide the necessary train paths to accommodate intermodal and bulk (e.g. aggregate)/unitised freight of the proposed and existing committed development. Such committed development includes the London Gateway Port which, when fully developed is predicted to transport approximately 1.15 million containers (twenty foot equivalent) by rail per annum.

A significant proportion of port throughput has destinations to the north, in particular the large logistics hubs located in the Midlands. The Applicant’s ‘Sustainable Distribution Plan’ (Appendix 13.C of the ES, Paragraph 5.2.4) suggests that the proportion of aggregate transported by rail from Tilbury 2 is anticipated to be significantly higher than the national average with a large catchment area of greater than 30 miles distant, including destinations in the South East and Midlands.

Notwithstanding the above, the assessment carried out in support of the Tilbury 2 proposals does not appear to have considered available capacity on the regional/national rail network to accommodate the predicted rail movements. Instead, it appears to be entirely reliant upon representations made by Network Rail that “current headroom on the London to Southend railway line provides ample capacity for Tilbury 2 rail traffic” (Consultation Full Report – Submission Version Final Report October 2017, Page 199). Whilst not disputing Network Rail’s conclusions, we highlight that rail traffic from the Essex Thameside corridor is required to route through the wider network beyond Southend to London. In particular, rail travelling north to the Midlands and beyond will need to cross North London to access the East Coast and West Coast Main Lines.

Such north London lines are subject to significant capacity constraints which are predicted to be exacerbated by the growing need for additional/competing passenger and freight services. With regard to freight, the London Mayor’s Draft Transport Strategy 2017 states “these slow moving long trains limit the full potential of the network for passenger services” (Page 163). To address such concerns the Mayor’s Strategy proposes “a new line linking the ports around Tilbury with the Great Eastern Main Line would allow traffic from the Essex Thameside route to access the Felixstowe to Nuneaton corridor without needing to pass through the city”. Such a new link is discussed within Section 8 of the Network Rail Freight Network Study (April 2017), which considers a 30 year horizon. However, it is only a feasibility study which is planned for the long term. Thus, such a link is not anticipated within a 30 year horizon resulting in a long term dependence on North London routes, which both the London Mayor and Network Rail confirm are constrained.

It is acknowledged that the Tilbury 2 submission provides sensitivity testing considering highway impact in the instance that rail transport of aggregate is not achieved. However, the possibility also exists that Tilbury 2 predicted rail movements are achieved with the effect of constraining rail movements from other committed development along the Essex Thameside Corridor. The impact of that scenario needs to be carefully considered.