Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange | DB FAQs
Located at junction 2 of the M69, the plans for a National Rail Freight Interchange in Hinckley will deliver a large multi-purpose freight interchange and distribution facility connected to both the rail and road network.
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Overview

What is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project?

Some types of development are considered by the Government to be Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs).

 

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.

What is a Development Consent Order?

A Development Consent Order (DCO) is a special type of planning permission for developments categorised as NSIPs.

 

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

What is a SRFI?

A Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) is often referred to as an ‘in-land port’ due to its ability to successfully transfer freight from road to rail and from suppliers to retailers to consumers

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.

Where can I find out more information?

More information about the various stages of the national infrastructure planning process can be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website here.

 

You can find out more about our most recent proposals through the Formal Consultation pages on this site:

 

How can I submit my feedback?

The formal statutory consultation will run between Wednesday 12th January and Friday 8th April 2022 (extension from 9th March 2022). You can view the consultation webpage here and consultation documents here.

 

Feedback can be submitted via the online feedback questionnaire form here, or you can contact us via post, email or phone, the addresses of which are listed here.

What will you do with my feedback?

All feedback submitted within the consultation period will be taken into account  reviewed by the project team. Tritax Symmetry will summarise all responses in a Consultation Report which must be submitted with the application for a DCO Consent.

 

The Consultation Report will explain how Tritax Symmetry has had regard to the consultation responses, and demonstrate that Tritax Symmetry has complied with the statutory pre-application consultation requirement.

 

The Consultation Report is part of the application and will be published on the relevant project page on the National Infrastructure Planning website posted by the Planning Inspectorate soon after an application is received.

How can I be kept up to date about the application?

Tritax Symmetry will keep its project website up-to-date and post updates to our social media accounts:

When will an application be submitted?

Tritax Symmetry aims to submit its application to the Planning Inspectorate in Q3 of 2022. More information about the DCO consent process is available on our “The Process” page here.

More information about how you can submit your feedback or ask questions can be found on the Comment & Contact Us page.

General

Why is the development needed?

The development is needed to create the necessary logistics infrastructure to maximise the ability to use rail freight in accordance with National Policy and the needs of Leicestershire, to secure a sustainable economic future, as set out in the Warehousing and Logistics in Leicester and Leicestershire: Managing Growth and Change

What industries will you be supplying?

The scheme will be a logistics hub ideally linked to the major UK container ports. So typically serving engineering industries’ products and parts, as well as warehousing slower moving consumer products and seasonal stock builds.

How much will the development cost? Who will be funding it?

A private sector investment of approximately £550 million will be made to deliver the scheme. The development will be funded by Tritax Big Box REIT plc, a FTSE 250 Real Estate Investment Trust specialising in logistics.

There are other SRFIs nearby – why aren’t they enough?

The Midlands has no coastal port so all goods into and out of the region have to come via road or rail (and a small volume, by air). Containerised rail freight is a growing industry, which needs to have SRFI’s well located on the strategic rail freight network to secure a sustainable future. Each SRFI has its own market and particular rail routes that work best.

Why build here when there is already over capacity?

The logistics industry is growing, there is not an over capacity, with supply of available units at very low levels. It is responding to the changes in shopping patterns, with online orders requiring more distribution buildings for stock previously held in shops; and picking smaller quantities for fulfilment and delivery direct to end consumers. In addition to this, the fragility of international supply chains has meant that lean supply chains with tight just-in-time supply chains have become unreliable. This means more stock needs to be held locally ‘just-in-case’. HNRFI is well located in the ‘Golden Triangle’ for logistics with strong rail links to the ports especially.

What alternative sites have been considered (e.g. not green belt, other areas in Hinckley, other regions)

Potential sites throughout Leicestershire were researched as set out in the PEIR (Ch 4 Site selection and project evolution), in line with the LLEP & LCC economic studies for the future of the area. The other sites were not suitable for a range of reasons including HGV access and flood plain issues. SRFI’s are difficult to locate due to the requirement to be able to service up to 775m long trains (to maximise efficiency) and close to the motorway network. Much of the railway infrastructure, mostly developed in the 1800’s, was built in river valleys. HNRFI is not in the Green Belt. HNRFI is close to Warwickshire and will serve parts of the West Midlands as well as Leicestershire in the East Midlands. We did check for alternatives to the west, but the route sits mostly in flood plain and is unsuitable for a SRFI.

What will these new 8,400 jobs be? Where will they come from? Won’t this cause more traffic?

Chapter 7 of the PEIR at figure 7.9 identifies the job types in the Industrial and Logistics sector and the changes that have taken place from 2010 to 2019, there is now a higher share of Professional and Associate Professional and Technical roles, which can be associated with high-skilled engineering and technological professions. The development will give rise to additional traffic, this has been modelled using a Transport Model issued by the Leicestershire County Highway Authority.

When would construction begin? How long will it take?

If consent is secured late 2023. It is anticipated that site preparation works and infrastructure installation will commence from 2025. It is envisaged that the full development may take up to 10 years to complete.

When will the development be operational?

The first warehousing would be completed within year 3 – 4 from commencement of the major infrastructure works that need to be delivered ahead of any warehouses becoming operational.

What are the proposed operating times of the HNRFI?

At the operational stage the site will operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Will you be undertaking Compulsory Purchase Orders? Why have I received a legal letter about land interests?

We are looking to engage with a very small number of landowners where infrastructure and strategic landscaping may be required for our development. Compulsory purchase will only be sought as a last resort should an appropriate agreement not be reached with those landowners.

 

Legal letters were sent out by Terraquest, who are our land referencing company, they in effect collect information on land ownerships and land interests which is a requirement of the DCO application process. Many of the legal letters issued by Terraquest related to sub soil interests.

 

A subsoil interest is a legal presumption that the ground beneath the surface of unregistered public highways is owned by the adjacent freeholders. It could be that your property does not include the land in the highway, but there is often no way of proving this so we conservatively have to include every freeholder directly adjacent to unregistered public highways in the land referencing exercise.

 

Landreferencing allows us to fulfil our legal duty to identify those persons who may have an interest in the land potentially affected by HNRFI so as to allow those persons to be consulted directly regarding the proposed development and their comments taken into account and addressed as necessary prior to the submission of the application.

 

We would like to emphasise that receipt of a letter and Land Interest Questionnaire (LIQ) does not mean that your property or land is directly affected by the scheme. The information from the LIQs is used to ensure those in the area are consulted directly, it does not necessarily mean that your property is required for the scheme.

 

The proposed highway upgrades at local junctions and on local roads which are still being discussed with LCC Highways are proposed to be carried out within the adopted highway, we do not intend to Compulsorily Purchase third party land outside of the adopted highway to carry out these upgrades.

Highways / Traffic

Approximately how many HGVs will enter and exit the site per day?

4,500 HGVs will enter and exit the site over 24 hours. Our worst case scenario, maximum number of HGV movements in a 24 hour period is therefore predicted to be 9,000. This level of trip generation has been agreed with Leicestershire County Council (LCC) and National Highways (NH) (and the other local highway authorities in the Transport Working Group set up by Tritax Symmetry for the purposes of modelling traffic flows created by the development). This is a highly robust figure based on 100% of units assumed to be served by road only with no discounting for HGV movements saved by use of the rail terminal and no discounting for mezzanine floors.

Will the M69 J2 have two new slip roads in the development?

Yes it is proposed to provide two new slip roads to provide access to/from the M69 south so that it becomes an all ways junction. Indicative highway design plans are available on the consultation website.

Will the development cause more traffic on the M69?

Yes- according to the traffic modelling carried out for this consultation, which reflects the worst case scenario for traffic movements. Currently this modelling is being reviewed and re-run, however it is considered that the numbers currently presented are a reasonable estimate. There will be a circa 13% increase in HGV traffic heading northbound in the busiest network peak – light vehicle numbers will be relatively unchanged. Due to the introduction of the new slips at Junction 2 of the M69, allowing southern access, this results in an increase of HGV movements up to 40% towards the south. There is spare capacity within the M69 itself.

Will the development cause more traffic on the A47?

There will be some additional traffic heading onto the A47 to head to destinations to the north and west of Leicestershire. High-sided vehicles will be directed onto the A47 to avoid the low bridge on the A5 if heading NW on this route.

Why has the bypass / Eastern Link Road been removed?

Three options were consulted upon in 2019, a bypass around Stoney Stanton, one around Sapcote and the A47 link through the site. The public feedback was very negative to the Stoney Stanton and Sapcote options. Ahead of this consultation we ran three separate scenarios for each of the options through the model.

 

The A47 link had the most significant benefit in terms of removing traffic from the B581 in Stoney Stanton and providing direct access to the M69 for settlements to the North and West of Hinckley. The Sapcote bypass removed some traffic, but a large number of vehicles were generated by the villages themselves.

 

The Sapcote Bypass also drew more traffic to it (induced demand) which placed more pressure on the surrounding highway network. There are increases in general traffic through the village, however the numbers are at such a level that they do not justify the construction of a bypass. The proposed mitigation measures within Sapcote and Stoney Stanton are specifically designed to improve safety for residents and to discourage through-routing of vehicles from further afield.

What will the impact of the construction works be on local traffic? How will it be mitigated?

A full Construction Traffic and Environmental Management plan will be produced ahead of the submission of the application and managed by the contractor on the site. The infrastructure will be constructed within the first phase, including the M69 slips. The majority of large construction vehicles will be brought into the site via existing slips from the north and directly into the site from the newly formed access. Once the new slips are built, it will allow a greater degree of access from the south for the remainder of the construction.

How will you ensure HGVs have to stick to agreed routes?

An HGV routing strategy is being produced for the submission. This will be managed by a full time co-ordinator for the site. Measures will be reviewed in terms of enforcement of designated and prohibited routes. This may include camera monitoring and/or financial penalties.

What will the parking be like inside the site? What provisions will there be for HGVs and HGV drivers?

There will be a large number of spaces on site for both staff and HGVs. Layover spaces are designed into the individual plots. There is also a 110 space lorry park for users of the site with requisite facilities.

Will any of the PROWs/footpaths/bridleways be impacted, diverted or closed as a result of the development (construction or operation)?

There is a comprehensive strategy that allows connectivity through and around the site, this will comprise a number of diversions and closures as well as the introduction of new routes and enhancements to existing routes. The strategy can be reviewed at appendix 11.2 of PEIR Chapter 11.

Blaby District Council and Leicestershire County Council have questioned the transport modelling – how can you mitigate traffic impacts if the modelling hasn’t been agreed?

Blaby has deferred to LCC as Local Highways Authority for Leicestershire, though Blaby officers have attended the Transport Working Group meetings which includes Leicestershire County Council and National Highways and have input into the planning logs for the traffic model itself.

 

We have been going through an iterative process of data sharing and agreements on model inputs with all relevant authorities.

 

The Transport Working Group has been in existence for several years. This iterative process of working through highway modelling has been used to best effect to agree representative existing and forecast traffic scenarios.

 

We have used outputs from a model run from summer 2021 for the consultation. The summer 2021 model run is unlikely to differ significantly from the latest runs as they feature the same projected development traffic and infrastructure interventions.

 

Network changes (deletion of the National Highways Longshoot – Dodwells improvement scheme and smart motorways) have been included since the July run which are some distance from the site but may influence movement on the trunk road network. Therefore, the data processed for consultation is a best estimate at this point in the planning process and provides a reasonable understanding of how the model affects the redline boundary and where mitigation is likely to be required.

Rail

How many freight trains will be utilising the HNRFI per day / per week?

The maximum number of intermodal freight trains the site could handle in a day is 16 (32 movements).

Can you break down the train movements? In which direction and at what times of day?

The expectation and capacity study undertaken with Network Rail assumes 10 trains (20 movements) to and from the East (Felixstowe, London Gateway and via the East Coast Main Line); and 6 (12 movements) to and from the West (Liverpool, the North West and Scotland via the West Coast Main Line). These would be spread over 24 hours, with a maximum of 2 trains per hour. There would be limited services, if any during the peak hours.

How will this affect Narborough Train Station and the level crossing?

Network Rail have undertaken a detailed analysis of Narborough Station and the barrier down time. Based on the pre-pandemic timetable, in the morning peak hours 7 – 10 am, there is only one possible time an additional intermodal freight train could run. In the afternoon, between 4 – 7 pm only two. Each train would cause a maximum barrier downtime of 2.5mins. This is far less than a stopping passenger train coming from Leicester, which is 4-5 minutes. In each hour the total barrier down time would be approximately 20 minutes, with 40 minutes open which is well within Network Rails acceptable barrier down time at a level crossing.

Will the line be electrified?

This line is a key part of Network Rail’s Strategic Freight Network linking Felixstowe to the Midlands and the North. As such the importance of electrifying this line is recognised and will be a priority scheme as part of ongoing investment in this line. New technologies are also being trialled within the rail freight industry, such as hybrid and hydrogen engines.

What consideration has been given to the extra diesel pollution that increased freight train movements will cause?

The scheme will have an operating requirement to turn diesel train engines off within 30 minutes of arrival, so that there can be no long term idling of engines. The terminal is designed so that electric gantry cranes can be utilised to handle containers and the scheme can be used for electric trains using overhead line equipment, if required in the future.

Environment / Ecology

What is the impact on Burbage Common / Burbage Woods? How will it be mitigated?

No development will take place on Burbage Common / Burbage Woods land, the development site is adjacent to Burbage Common / Burbage Woods and our PROW strategy links in with the existing footpath and bridleway network there.

 

From an ecological perspective we have looked at the potential impacts on the Burbage Common and Burbage Woods in the form of direct and indirect impacts, air quality, lighting, noise and vibration and recreational impacts. The studies have shown that there is the potential for accidental indirect impacts during construction and the potential for recreational impacts. These will be mitigated through the implementation of non development buffer zones, ecological construction method statements, the provision of additional recreational facilities within the green infrastructure provision and through active management plans. The PEIR chapter 12 sets out the potential impacts and how these will be mitigated in further detail.

 

In terms of visual effects, we have taken views within Burbage Common at varying distances from the proposed development (Photo viewpoint EDP 15, 42, 43 and 44) of which views towards the Main HNRFI are limited due to intervening mature vegetation and topography within the Common edges of the site. Photo viewpoint EDP 16 similarly illustrates views from Burbage Common Road opposite the eastern Country Park car park. In terms of mitigation a landscape strategy has been produced, of which a bund is proposed along the north-western edge of the railway line which will be planted up with woodland species, of which over time will assist in breaking up views and screening lower portions of the proposals. Directly north of Burbage Common Country Park will be a new area of public open space which will be converted from agricultural land to a biodiverse area of similar characteristics to the Country Park. Woodland blocks will also be planted within and in proximity to the western edge of the site which will similarly provide screening of views.

 

In terms of visual effects upon Burbage Wood, Elmesthorpe Plantation and Aston Firs, views from within these areas to the HNRFI will be limited to its very northern and eastern edges due to their dense wooded nature (Photo viewpoint EDP 1, 2 3 and 36).

 

The main HNRFI will be set back from the edges of these areas, incorporating an area of Public Open Space within the western corner of the main HNRFI site as well as providing a green corridor along the southern edge of which a bridleway corridor will be created.

How are you creating Biodiversity Net Gain?

We are proposing a mix of on site and off site Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). BNG is created by the provision of better quality habitat within the green infrastructure provision than the current habitats present on site, and through the provision of off site biodiversity creation. Appendix 12.2 of the PEIR sets out the current biodiversity impact assessment for the scheme and how the on and off site provision can deliver a 10% net gain. DCO applications currently do not require the delivery of a 10% Biodiversity Net Gain however Tritax Symmetry are proposing to deliver 10% net gain as part of this development.

How will the development impact wildlife and habitats? How will you mitigate it?

There will be an inevitable loss of habitats within the site as part of the development proposals and this will impact on certain wildlife species within the site too. Mitigation packages will be developed as part of the planning process to ensure that protected species are maintained within a favourable conservation status. These packages will involve the retention of habitats where possible and the provision of new habitats with higher interest within the site and off site. These are set out within Chapter 12 of the PEIR and will be developed further prior to the full submission of the scheme.

How will lighting be managed at the site? Will it have an impact on local wildlife / cause light pollution? What mitigation will there be?

Lighting within the site will have the potential to impact wildlife and therefore buffer zones from development have been incorporated into the scheme around the most sensitive areas. A lighting strategy will be developed that ensures areas of sensitive habitat are maintained within dark corridors and minimum lighting increase levels will be stipulated for these habitats.

 

Similarly, the lighting strategy will consider the spread of lighting across the wider area in terms of night time visual receptors. It is intended that much of the lighting across the site to be kept to a minimum with operational lighting likely to be directional and focused ‘task’ lighting.

How much noise pollution will the scheme cause? How will you mitigate that?

A detailed noise model has been generated for the proposed SRFI, to predict the noise impact at nearby properties surrounding the site. The noise model includes noise generating sources such as loading/unloading activities, HGV movements, rail movements, reach stackers, gantry cranes etc. To inform the assessment, the existing noise climate in the vicinity of the properties has been characterised through a long-term baseline noise survey, in line with appropriate guidance, which has been agreed with both Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council and Blaby District Council, the predicted noise levels generated by the proposed operation of the SRFI has been compared to the existing baseline noise levels to determine the impact. Where an impact has been identified, mitigation has been recommended to reduce the noise levels to within acceptable levels in accordance with the relevant guidance. This includes acoustic barriers of up to 6m in height, and the selection of quiet plant, where appropriate.

How much air pollution will the scheme cause? How will you mitigate that?

We have assessed the impact of the development proposals on air pollutant concentrations in line with appropriate guidance, which has been agreed with both Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council and Blaby District Council. The change in air quality with the development in operation is negligible in accordance with Institute of Air Quality Management and Environmental Protection UK guidance. Additionally, the air dispersion modelling undertaken predicted pollutant concentrations below the relevant annual mean air quality objectives in the study area with the proposed development in operation.

 

Whilst the proposed development was not predicted to result in any significant air quality impacts as a result of operational-phase road traffic emissions, mitigation measures are included within the development proposals to minimise emissions associated with the operation of the development. These include provision of Electric Vehicle charging, new footway and cycleways, cycle parking facilities and junction improvements in the vicinity of the site to ease local congestion.

More information about how you can submit your feedback or ask questions can be found on the Comment & Contact Us page.