St Albans Council has failed in its bid to stop development of the Radlett Rail Freight Terminal.
The council, supported by STRiFE, a local action group, had appealed against the decision by Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, to grant planning permission for the £400m scheme which is needed to boost the use of rail freight in the UK.
However, in the High Court this morning, Mr Justice Holgate rejected the council’s case, setting out his reason in a 36 page judgement.
St Albans MP Anne Main, who opposes the development, said: “I am left stunned by the judge’s decision. We’re still going through the document to digest the judgement and what our options are.
“I am now seeking a meeting with Herts County Council at the earliest opportunity, where we can decide how best to continue the fight.”
The plan for the strategic rail freight interchange put forward by developer Helioslough includes an intermodal terminal and rail and road served distribution units totalling 331,665 sq m.
Radlett will 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.
In its 2011 policy document on Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges, the Department for Transport highlighted the need for more rail terminals to meet the growth of rail freight over the coming years. It forecast that traffic would more than double between 2006 and 2030.
It said: “The government believes that a network of SRFIs is needed to serve the major centres of population and support the longer-term development of efficient rail freight distribution logistics.”