Permission for these projects is granted directly by the government instead of the local authority (Blaby District Council). Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges are NSIPs, so Tritax Symmetry will make its application to the government, with local authorities playing an important consultative role.
A DCO gives a developer the powers it needs to acquire land for and to construct and operate the development. After extensive public consultation, applications for a DCO are submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, which examines the proposals on behalf of the government and reports to the relevant government minister – in this case the Secretary of State for Transport – who will then decide whether to grant a DCO. Further information about the process can be found at: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk
Government policy is that SRFIs are important because they can provide a range of transport, environmental, and economic benefits, and as a result the national policy is that there should be a network of them in the UK. The Government’s National Policy Statement relating to ‘national networks’ published in December 2014, which includes policy guidance on SRFIs, can be found here.