This is just a brief update for those concerned about the two proposed Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges, Rail Central and Northampton Gateway. Many residents have contacted me and I continue to follow both proposals closely. I am committed to doing all that I can to reflect and support the position that the majority of my constituents have taken, which is one of clear opposition.
At the request of local residents, I organised a meeting so they could raise their concerns about the national SRFI policy with the Rail Minister, Jo Johnson. The meeting was productive and he said he would look carefully at the implementation of the national policy guidance. He did however made clear that the National Policy Statement for National Networks was reviewed in 2015 and so is not due for further consideration by Parliament.
Roxhill are understood to be very close to submitting their proposals for Northampton Gateway to PINS for consideration, and we await the opportunity to make our concerns known to the Inspectorate.
As you may know, Ashfield Land has announced that they will be starting the second phase of their formal consultation between the 15th March and 23rd April 2018. This phase of consultation will include statutory and technical stakeholders and will be advertised to give the wider public an opportunity to comment on the proposed application; anyone wanting to make their views known should provide their feedback in writing during the consultation period.
Ashfield Land has also included dates for a series of public exhibitions where you can find out more information, view the plans, and register comments and opinions. I understand these will take place between Thursday 15th March and Saturday 24th March in Blisworth, Milton Malsor, Roade and Towcester. The location details can be found here.
Once Rail Central has completed its pre-application consultation in line with the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) process, the next step will be to submit their application for a Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS), who will review it and determine whether it is accepted for examination. This is the same process Roxhill is following.
If the application meets the standards required and the application is accepted, a decision on whether it is approved or refused by the Secretary of State for Transport is likely to be made in 2019 after examination. Find out more.
Please do ensure you provide me with a copy of any of your responses and do get in contact with any issues or concerns you may have.