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Radlett approval welcomed by freight industry after long wait

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has given planning permission approval for the development of the Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) at Radlett, near St Albans, Hertfordshire.

The decision, which comes almost five years after a public inquiry and almost a decade in the planning system, has cleared the way for the major redevelopment of the site.

The development would comprise a 331,665sqm intermodal terminal and road and rail-served distribution units outside St Albans within the green belt.

After an appeal by Helioslough to build on the Green Belt site of the former Radlett Airfield, the DCLG was convinced that the site can operate” in tandem with passenger services and that pathways into and out of it can be established”.

The decision notice also says that in the government’s view no other site would be a suitable substitute and all Section 106 planning obligations (payments to improve local services to compensate for the impact of major developments) in relation to Radlett Airfield had been agreed.

Maggie Simpson, RFG executive director, said: “This decision is welcome news and is a sign of government’s ongoing commitment to helping the market build vital strategic rail freight interchanges that are so important to the future of the sector.

“As the M25, M1 and other roads become ever more congested, this facility will help rail freight to play its part in efficient and low-carbon distribution for London.”

But St Albans City & District Council is still considering whether it has grounds to challenge the decision and is discussing the matter with its legal advisors. Any party wishing to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision in the High Court must do so by no later than Friday 22 August.

Cllr Julian Daly, the council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning and Conservation said:  “The Council is disappointed with the Secretary of State’s decision.  Our position from the outset has been that building a rail freight interchange at this site will be harmful to the District’s Green Belt.”

Chris Welsh, the Freight Transport Association’s director of global and European policy, stated that schemes like Radlett are vital in order to “meet challenging rail freight growth targets and any development that will improve and expand rail freight capacity is good news”.

(The proposed Strategic Rail Freight Interchange: c.mwmbwls)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Mervyn Paverd   18/07/2014 at 13:47

The Railfreight industry may welcome this decision, but local residents will certainly not! One only has to travel on the local roads south of this proposed development, to experience the abominable state of road surfaces rutted and potholed by the existing HGV traffic originating from the warehouses already situated in Frogmore, to understand why local residents are justified to be up in arms about the additional HGV traffic which will result once this terminal is up and running! The local councils appear to be quite willing to rake in the business taxes from these ventures, but far less willing to spend it on keep the surrounding roads in a reasonable condition!

Charlie Burgess   12/09/2014 at 17:09

In response to the fight against the rail freight terminal. Cllr Pat Stack, the Mayor in St Albans has said in an email to me that a football stadium will be built instead of the freight terminal. But greenbelt land wont be greenbelt land if a stadium is built on it. So a freight terminal may as well be built. And we have enough football stadiums in this country. It seems it will be better for the country as a whole. I am looking at it not just from a local perspective. The lorries that will come off the roads will drop off there containers and the trains will do the rest. The hundreds of road miles of road haulage will be cut and done quicker if the journey will be by train. In the bigger picture, hundreds of lorries will be take off the overcrowded motorway and road network on the rest of the long route to and from the terminal. Also encouraging more railway freight paths to and from the channel tunnel. This will take off and alleviate the motorways to and from the ports at dover. These motorways are always in the news for being gridlocked and over congested and motorway and road building is not the answer, as a former GWR man once said in a documentary on Swindon Railway Works; 1 mile of railway track uses up 1 acre of land. But 1 Mile of Motorway Uses up 40 acres of land. So when you consider all that land that will be needed to build more motorways, When its gone its gone. There is another reason to build it instead of building a dirty great dull and boring football stadium. The rail freight terminal will as I mentioned take off those lorries causing the problem and will be greener then overcrowded roads. And trains make less pollution then lorries, this would cut CO2. The Railways will actually make the local area greener then it would be without it. Railway will always be greener the roads.

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