Save Burbage Common and surrounding villages - say NO to rail freight interchange

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Alison Searle
Alison Searle signed this petition

db symmetry want to build a town-sized, rail-served warehouse development on land next to Burbage Common under the guise of transferring the movement of goods from road to rail. This is a stand-alone development brought forward by a private company and is not part of any government scheme to reduce carbon emissions, for example, or reduce lorries on our roads. If it goes ahead, an area of our beloved countryside approximately the size of Barwell will be destroyed to make way for 850,000 sq metres of warehousing (which will be up to 23 metres in height) and 137,000 sq metres of railway sidings complete with permanent cranes for the loading and unloading of large containers. In addition to the destruction of countryside and the displacement of important wildlife, this development will bring chaos to our already over-burdened roads. It will cause a significant rise in harmful air pollution and, with operation being 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, there will be no respite for local residents from the noise and chaos. Burbage Common will be forever changed and will no longer be the peaceful countryside retreat that is loved by so many people. 

According to the government policy 'National Policy Statement for National Networks', the development must be capable of handling 4 freight trains per day. This means that, once built, the development does not have to actually handle any freight trains at all, as long as it has the capability to do so if the occupants of the warehouses so desire. We could potentially end up with a massive warehouse development in which all warehouses are served purely by road and not by rail at all. Believe it or not, this does actually fall in line with the policy and that is why we believe the policy itself is flawed in this respect. 

We declare that the Government Policy Statement 'National Policy Statement for National Networks' for the construction of National Rail Freight Interchanges is flawed, leading to proposals, such as that by db symmetry to construct the Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange in a location selected because of its access to the road network. Far from promoting the movement of freight by rail, this policy encourages the building of massive freight terminals for distribution of freight by road, with over 90% of freight using the terminal to be moved by road. The proposal will cause a significant increase in road freight traffic. Being adjacent to a SSSI site, it will cause harm to the environment through air, noise and light pollution. The concentration of heavy goods traffic will damage the health and well being of local residents and the increased traffic on unsuitable local roads will crease a loss of local amenity and the proposal should not be granted planning permission. 

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to review the 'National Policy Statement for National Networks' in respect of rail freight terminals and to urge the refusal of planning consent for the proposed site known as the Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange.