Midlands Engine

07.07.20

West Midlands Interchange to boost local economy

The new Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI), titled the West Midlands Interchange (WMI), located in South Staffordshire, is set to become a reality with the promoter Four Ashes Limited (FAL) planning the successive stage in its development after it was granted a Development Consent Order (DCO) by Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, back in May. The DCO decision is now clear of the judicial review period.

The site will boost economic development through its location in the M54 Wolverhampton, Staffordshire High Growth Zone.

It is also hoped it will support both the Government’s Modern Industrial Strategy and the drives of the Midlands Engine, which together aim to help deliver a high-skilled, competitive economy that benefits people in the West Midlands and throughout the UK.

More global business and investment is hoped to be attracted, the scheme will create 8,550 direct jobs. It is also expected to generate £427m of local economic activity each year and, through the supply chain, create £912m per annum of economic activity nationally.

The West Midlands’ strong manufacturing and logistics industrial base is rising and the WMI will deliver fast, reliable transport links to help the region’s businesses compete in national and international markets.

The proposed scheme has been designed to increase the efficiency of freight distribution, taking freight traffic off motorways and trunk roads and onto the rail network.

This will also reduce CO2 emissions produced by freight transport; rail freight produces up to 70% less CO2 and up to 15 times lower noxious emissions than road freight tonne for tonne.

The site will have direct connections to the West Coast Mainline, one of the strategic rail freight routes in the UK that can accommodate the transfer of larger 9’6” freight containers between road and rail.

Images: Four Ashes Limited

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