Rail freight


Council refused permission to appeal Radlett freight decision

The Court of Appeal has refused to give St Albans City & District Council permission to appeal the dismissal of its recent court challenge against the proposal for a strategic rail freight interchange (SRFI) at Radlett.                   

Last year, the council challenged the communities secretary’s decision to grant planning permission for the SRFI at Park Street near St Albans. However, the High Court dismissed the council’s challenge on 13 March. 

RTM reported back in April that the council confirmed it would seek permission to appeal the dismissal, but yesterday it received notice that the permission had been refused. 

In his decision Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Sullivan says that he considers the grounds of appeal put forward by the council do not have a real prospect of success. The council now has seven days to decide whether to request that Lord Justice Sullivan’s decision is reconsidered at an oral hearing before the Court of Appeal.  

A council spokeswoman said: “We will take advice from our legal advisors before making this decision.” 

Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail manager, told RTM: “This decision is most welcome. Without terminals, which are the freight equivalent of stations for passengers, more freight cannot be transferred to the railways. 

“Road/rail transfer stations such as Radlett are urgently needed at key strategic locations on our major networks to get long distance consumer freight onto the railways, the low carbon energy efficient safer alternative to HGVs which reduces road congestion.

“Radlett has become a test case because of its location in the south east where there is a lack of alternative sites with good road and rail connections.” 

(Image: c. mwmbwls)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com


Steve Bowes-Phipps   30/06/2015 at 12:01

Ms Edmunds comment on railfreight terminals is great if such a terminal were to be used for rail freight and not just road freight. However, this site is so unsuitable that it will require major tunnel and bridge work between St Albans and London (which in itself is very Carbon-intensive), plus there will be significant disruption to Thameslink commuters that may force many of them onto the roads for years to come. Not to mention the destruction of the largest piece of green belt left between St Albans and London, that will destroy the surrounding villages with light and noise pollution, and with raised traffic levels from the freight lorries (300/day) on to what is already one of the most congested trunk routes in the UK. Add to this the 3000-odd staff needed to operate it in an area of historically low employment and high skill levels, which means that they will need to drive in in their own cars from places such as Luton and North London. How can anyone sell this as 'low carbon'? The sensitive (and greener) solution would have been to site it at Upper Sundon where trunk road links have already been (or are currently being) built, and there is a willing low-skilled workforce available to staff it AND the local council has actively sought it.

Neil Palmer   01/07/2015 at 02:03

Steve, Please explain how a site bordered on the west & east by the St Albans Abbey branch & Midland Main lines, and on the north & south by the A414 & M25, is an unsuitable location for a freight terminal. Also why would it require major tunnel & bridge work between St Albans & London?

Nick K   03/07/2015 at 08:46

The arguments being presented by St Albans Council (railway paths, congestion etc.) are obviously being totally ignored. Maybe they should take a different tack, of being allowed to heavily fine the operators for every lorry load NOT handled via a train. But this would NEVER be permitted - Helioslough might even abandon the project...

Steve Bowes-Phipps   22/09/2016 at 11:52

@Neil Sorry for my late reply, I didn't realise you'd posed a question to me. The answer is simple - the nearest track (Midland Main Line) has the wrong gauge and the tunnels are the wrong height for the freight cars that need to go through them. Also, the positioning of the site means that trains will have to slow considerably and pass over the other track, causing huge delays to the timetable to accommodate. There are much better places to put this freight depot, which is a good idea in principle, but St Albans is not it.

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