Rail freight


West Midlands freight depot to be considered by Planning Inspectorate

The Planning Inspectorate will examine plans to create a rail freight depot on green belt land north of Wolverhampton.

Four Ashes Ltd submitted a Development Consent Order (DCO) for examination for an order granting development consent for the West Midlands Interchange: a 282 hectare freight hub will border the A5, A449, and M6 at Gailey, Four Ashes and Calf Heath if given the green-light.

The proposals will look to increase the efficiency of freight distribution in the area by taking freight off nearby motorways such the M6, but vocal opponents to the plans include defence secretary and South Staffordshire MP Matt Williamson, who said the plans “would create a substantial increase in pollution, a massive increase in traffic and consequently have a terrible impact on residents in the surrounding villages.”

The new hub in South Staffordshire would create a freight interchange on the proposed land, linking the hub to the nearby West Coast Main Line and key main roads and motorways. Four Ashes claims the new hub would generate £427m to the local economy each year and create 8,500 jobs for people in South Staffordshire, Black Country, the West Midlands, and other surrounding areas.

Other opponents to the scheme include the Stop Gailey Freight Group who argue that the increased traffic from the freight hub could negatively impact the area.

From their website, the campaign group said: “This massive proposal would be sited on agricultural green belt land, that would devastate part of South Staffordshire — built on the promises of false jobs, green credentials and financial gain.

“Its giant warehouses and thousands of HGVs would decimate the environment and gridlock the road network,” the group added.

The Planning Inspectorate will now invite stakeholders and public to participate in the examination of the plans. A timetable will then be set for the examination which is expected to last six months, beginning with a preliminary meeting.

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