There are many questions still to be answered regarding the ability of the rail network to accommodate an 8 million square foot rail freight interchange in South Northamptonshire. Only Network Rail can provide the definitive answer so perhaps the more pertinent question to ask is whether there is actually sufficient demand for the movement of freight via rail to justify the building of Rail Central?
Please download and display the poster below promoting our next ‘Open Village’ meeting scheduled for 7:30pm Monday 10th October 2016, being held in the Village Hall, Stoke Rd, Blisworth.
The more people we can get involved in our cause against the proposed development, the greater our chance to ‘stop rail central’.
Please download and display the poster to make as many people aware of the ‘open village’ meeting.
The Government needs to realise, before it is too late and the whole of our county is covered over with warehouses, that freight being moved by rail is not determined by the volume of rail connected warehouses available but by economics, practicality and reliability.
Following Brian Ringer’s article last month on the challenges facing rail freight, Paul Shannon writes in September’s issue of Rail magazine about the demise of coal rail freight and ponders the question of what will replace it.
Whilst coal has been the mainstay of the Rail Freight Industry for many years other primary products and raw materials such as oil, petroleum and chemicals have also supported the rail freight industry but it appears that, like coal, their days are numbered and certainly no increase in such commodities is predicted. Construction materials may offer a lifeline [but these will not be
transported to warehouse estates in Northamptonshire].
A synopsis of Brian Ringer’s article on the future of UK rail freight in light of the decline of heavy industry on which it depends. Brian was the former Freight Operations Manager with the Strategic Rail Authority. Modern Railways September 2016
Rail freight’s problems and their causes are by no means new. Although much of the present discussion centres around the decline of coal fired electricity generation the long term decline of rail freight has continued with few blips since the 1950’s. So where does this malaise lie?
For those of you that might still be thinking that Rail Central is a ‘done deal’ and will go ahead no matter what we do, I would draw your attention to a recent decision on a Scottish SRFI.
In August 2016 the Scottish Courts upheld a decision to refuse planning permission for the development of a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange in Mosshead Glasgow. The reasons for refusal are reasons that could equally apply to the Rail Central proposal. The summary paragraph is reproduced below and it is clear to see that a parallel can be drawn with Rail Central’s proximity to DIRFT when they mention ‘eclipsing existing and proposed alternative sites’ (not to mention other potential RFI developments). Similar parallels can also be drawn re the conflict with the local plan, loss of green space and the adverse impacts on nearby housing.
What do you think the Directors of Ashfield Land see when they gaze across Milton Vale? Does Andrew Fisher, Managing Director and founder, see 650 acres of beautiful productive farmland; or is he, perhaps, visualising his new holiday villa in the south of France? What do you think is in James Digby’s mind when he eyes the scores of veteran trees and miles of ancient hedgerows: his new Maserati perhaps? And does Claire Cope see the varied and plentiful wildlife: the multiple species of bats; birds and plant life; or is she, maybe, planning her next move up the property ladder? One thing is certain: none of them see (or maybe chose not to see) the lives that are inextricably linked with this unique and important piece of open countryside. The lives of the people who have made their homes here, many of whom had expected to see out their remaining days in peaceful tranquillity, un-accosted by the outside forces that wish to possess, exploit and destroy the environment for their own personal gain.
Baker Rose Consulting LLP have provided a professional view on the viability of Rail Central proposal: commissioned in January 2016 by SRC Ltd.
Extracts from Keith Barrow’s “Brexit, coal collapse and capacity issues add to British rail freight woes” published in this months International Railway Journal.
THESE are difficult times for Britain’s rail freight industry. Statistics published by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) on May 19 show the total amount of freight lifted in the 2015-16 financial year fell 22.2% to 86 million tonnes, its lowest level since 1984-85, when the Miner’s Strike led to an 85.5% drop in coal traffic. The total volume of freight moved in 2015-16 declined by 17.8 billion tonne-km, a 20% reduction.
It’s like buses. You spend your whole life trying to avoid one Rail Freight Interchange and then two come along at the same time. Like me, you may well be asking yourselves “What could we possibly have done to deserve two RFIs being visited upon us, and what does it all mean?”
After 6 months of research SRC now have a good understanding of the legal and practical aspects of the Planning Act 2008 and the associated policies and procedures relating to RFIs. This has allowed us to progress from being “NIMBYs” to at least being “informed NIMBYs” and enabling us to put forward our views not only from the perspective of community interest and self preservation but also from a “nationally strategic” perspective.
Those of you that listened to James Digby of Ashfield Land being interviewed on the Radio Northampton Breakfast show on Thursday morning might have heard him almost make a massive faux pas. When unexpectedly questioned about his views on the recently revealed plans by Roxhill to build a competing terminal right next door to his development James began to say “I cannot comment on whether their scheme is in the right loc…” In the nick of time, realising that the scheme is in exactly the same location as Ashfield’s (albeit in a slightly less intrusive position), he quickly retracted and reverted to the old favourite “it’s on different timelines”. It is worth remembering that of the 15 alternative sites put forward in their environmental assessment, the only one that was actually viable as alternative to Rail Central was this very site which now competes directly with Rail Central. Oh the irony.