Council demands rethink on rail freight terminal

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St Albans council has demanded that the government re-opens the inquiry into the Radlett strategic rail freight terminal – and threatened high court action against them if it refuses.

Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, gave the go-ahead to the Radlett plan just before Christmas in a move welcomed by industry organisations including the Freight Transport Association and the Rail Freight Group.

The Rail Freight Group pointed out that Radlett would be the only major rail freight interchange in the north and west quadrants around London, well situated with good road and rail links, and should enable a much higher proportion of freight to use rail freight for parts of journey.

However, the plan has been bitterly opposed by residents in the area. Now St Albans council has written to Pickles calling on him to reconsider his decision not to re-open the Radlett inquiry and conjoin it with an inquiry into a site at Colnbrook.

The council has also given notice of its intention to challenge the decision not to reopen and conjoin the inquiry through judicial review in the High Court if the secretary of state does not meet the c ouncil’s request. 

The council described Pickles’ decision “flawed”. It argues that the way the secretary of state has changed his position since the original decision in July 2010 is “wholly unexplained”, and says that this “indicates that the interim decision was reached either on an irrational basis or by taking into account immaterial considerations.”

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