The developer of a proposed huge new rail freight terminal using Green Belt land at Radlett in Hertfordshire, UK, is celebrating a victory following a High Court decision to overturn the government’s denial of planning permission.

The ruling means that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will have to reconsider his decision made in July last year.

HelioSlough’s proposed Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) had been opposed by campaigners arguing that the terminal would erode the Green Belt and increase the level of noise and traffic in the area.

The developer wants to build the 350,000sq metre depot on the former Radlett Airfield.

A spokesman said: “The SRFI is important for sustainable economic growth – some £250 million (US$402m) will be invested by the private sector in this development, with some 3,000 jobs being generated over the long term.

“It will also generate significant carbon savings by switching freight onto the railways that would otherwise have been moved by road.”

It added: “In the light of this ruling, we now await to hear from the secretary of state what his next steps will be and we will be engaging fully in that process.”

The Secretary of State has until 11 July to challenge the court ruling.

Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail’s Manager, said, “Without road and rail transfer points in the right locations, long-distance road freight cannot be removed from our congested road network.

“The planning inspector recommended granting planning permission for this strategic interchange, so we urge the secretary of state to support this application, which ticks all the right boxes in terms of location, stimulation of the green economy and green jobs.”

She added: “Not only is this decision crucial for relieving road congestion around Greater London, it is a key test for wider strategic planning versus localism in the new planning regime.

“The country needs the Localism Bill and the forthcoming National Planning Policy Framework and National Policy Statements to support strategic planning, and, in particular, rail freight terminals of varying sizes in order to reduce road congestion and tackle climate change.”

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