Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange

20 January 2024 update

The HNRFI examination by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has been underway since September 2023. As part of this, PINS have held Open Floor Hearings (OFH) and Issue Specific Hearings (ISH). Members of the SSAG committee have attended these and made representations. The Examining Authority are due to finish their examination by 12th March 2024 and before then there will be at least one more Issue Specific Hearing (ISH) about transport and noise on January 24th which SSAG will also attend. Following that there will be a few more chances for Interested Parties to respond to new submissions. The ExA must provide their examination report to the Secretary of State by 12th June and following that the Secretary of State (SoS) should make a decision about whether HNRFI will be allowed to go ahead by 12th September 2024. The SoS will take other factors into account in his decision, although they will be guided by the report. The period from April to August 2024 will be a good time for as many people as possible to write letters to their MPs. We will encourage this by providing as much information as we can.

The Agenda for the 24 January 2024 meeting at The Sketchley Grange Hotel, Hinckley, LE10 3HU and also on Microsoft Teams is available here.

Further details and documentation can be found here.

7 November 2023 update

The Stoney Stanton Action Group submitted a detailed written representation to the Examining Authority by the October deadline. A copy of it can be viewed by clicking the link below:

https://stoneystanton.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/SSAG_HNRFI_WR_v6.pdf

In the week beginning October 30th, members of the group attended both the the Open Floor Hearing and the Issue Specific Hearings. 

Alberto Costa , MP for South Leicestershire and Luke Evans, MP for Hinckley & Bosworth, both spoke in opposition to the HNRFI proposal. You can watch recordings of the meetings using the links on the Planning Inspectorate website https//Infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk . More Open Floor Hearings  will be held on 11th December.

The full examination timetable can be found via the link above to the Planning Inspectorate website .The examination will close by March 12th 2024 . The Planning Inspectorate will then pass on details of the examination and their recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport , Mark Harper, who has up to three months to make the final decision.

5 November 2023 update:

The Examining Body has now held the open and specific hearings as per the examination timetable detailed below.

The recording of the first Open Hearing can be found here.

Further details can be found on the PINS website

On 4th October 2023, SSAG committee members attended an online meeting about the PINS process for the HNRFI examination. The meeting was hosted by Alberto Costa MP and Dr Luke Evans MP, with many district and local councillors in attendance.

The main points made at the meeting were:

  • If you have already registered as an Interested Party by submitting a Relevant Representation (RR), then please also submit a Written Representation (WR) by the deadline 23:59 on 10th October 2023.
  • Even if it is a very short WR, it would be worthwhile – focus on the things you are most concerned about as this will vary between individuals and groups / organisations.
  • Even if you haven’t registered, you can still input a written comment by writing to one of the MPs:
  • alberto.costa.mp@parliament.uk               Blaby
  • luke.evans.mp@parliament.uk                    Hinckley & Bosworth
  • If you have registered as an Interested Party, then, if you can, attend hearings about issues you are most concerned about (hearings listed below)
  • Preferably register to speak at the hearings – you need to register to speak by 10th October
  • Make comments about where information is inadequate / missing / or difficult to access. These are important things for the examiners to hear
  • You cannot make comments about the PINS process or National Policy Statements themselves, but it is important to make comments about why the HNRFI proposal doesn’t comply with National Policies (e.g. The National Policy Statement for for National Networks – NN NPS)

The Planning Inspectorate have advised that representations should prioritise ‘quality over quantity’. One way to achieve this is by referring back to the developers own submissions. You can find all documents pertaining to the application here:

https://national-infrastructure-consenting.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/TR050007/documents

Those of you who have registered with PINS (the Planning Inspectorate) as an Interested Party will already be aware that any further comments you wish to make regarding the Hinckley Rail Freight Terminal development plans need to be submitted by 23.59 on Tuesday 10th October, using the following link:

Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange | National Infrastructure Planning (planninginspectorate.gov.uk)

 and use the “Make a submission” button to submit your Written Representation.

If you can attend one or more of the hearings, they will be held as follows. All meetings except ISH5 will be “Blended Events” which means attendance can be online (see the PINS website) or in person. All meetings will be held at the Leonardo Hotel, Watling Street, Hinckley, LE10 3JA :

 • Open Floor Hearing 1 (OFH1). At 6:00 p.m. on Monday 30 October 2023.
• Issue Specific Hearing 2 (ISH2) on Traffic and Transport. At 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday 31 October 2023
• Issue Specific Hearing 3 (ISH3) on Environmental Matters. At  10:00 a.m. on Wednesday 1 November 2023.
• Issue Specific Hearing 4 (ISH4) on Need and Socio-Economic. At 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday 1 November 2023.
• Open Floor Hearing 2 (OFH2). At 10:00 a.m. on Thursday 2 November 2023.
• Compulsory Acquisition Hearing 2 (CAH2). At 2:00 p.m. on Thursday 2 November 2023.
• Issue Specific Hearing 5 (ISH5) into draft Development Consent Order. Virtual event (only) at 10:00 a.m. on Friday 3 November 2023.

September 12th and 13th – Summary of preliminary meetings between Planning Inspectorate Examining Authority and Tritax (Developer) regarding Hinckley Rail Freight application:

Requests, including representation from local MPs, were made for subsequent meetings to be held more locally, and outside office hours, so those working could attend; a venue closer to the proposed site has been secured for future meetings.

At least 1 meeting will be held in the evening as per the timetable.    A finalised timetable will be issued by the ExA shortly; in the meantime the draft timetable can be viewed here (on pages E1 – E5 towards the end of the document) 

The ExA (Examining Authority) are aware of some issues people experienced when trying to register as interested parties so have asked those that have had difficulties or are not receiving the updates to get in touch with the Case Team – Contact details are:

National Infrastructure Planning, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, BRISTOL, BS1 6PN

Tel Customer Services 0303 444 5000, or email: HinckleySRFI@planninginspectorate.gov.uk

Alternatively you can contact the Stoney Stanton Action Group via email: info@stoneystanton.co.uk and we will raise the issue for you.

Current representations people have already submitted will stand.  However there is now an opportunity to submit a more detailed representation.  If you feel that the information submitted by the applicant is deficient in any way, you need to include in this further submission.  Further details will be sent direct to those who registered as Interested Parties (Rule 8 letter). These must be submitted by 10 October.   Make a submission

Key points raised during the meetings this week:

  • Highways authority were not satisfied with information they had received so far and were unable to proceed with Local Impact reports and Safety Audit, until more detailed traffic modelling was submitted.
  • There was some confusion about the cited employment statistics, and the subsequent number of road trips.  TSH were asked to explain in simple arithmetic terms the differences in numbers they’ve used for employment and traffic generation figures. To be provided by 10th October
  • There is opportunity to request further site visits, if there are particular areas that people feel should be visited – a post regarding how to request this will be posted in the coming days.
  • A representative from the Council for the Protection of Rural England asked about how Climate Change is being considered, and the National Highways representative asked for Road and rail to be dealt with separately.
  • TSH were asked to consider whether a cap to the amount of power produced by the power plant is necessary and if not, change how it is presented in the draft Development Consent Order (dDCO)
  • The dDCO had been reviewed by the Examining Authority resulting in many questions and changes.  TSH were asked to ensure that new versions of documents be provided in a way that allows changes to be clearly identified
  • One item that caused us more concern than many was a discussion about closing Smithy Lane leading to Burbage Woods. A proposal for an alternative Bridle Way had been included but on the surface that does not seem to offer the access and car-parking that visitors to the Wood need. This will be challenged by SSAG.  If you want us to raise any issues on your behalf on this point, then please contact us at info@stoneystanton.co.uk

Recordings of the meetings on 12th and 13th September can be viewed via the links below:

Preliminary Meeting 12th September Part 1

Preliminary Meeting 12th September Part 2

Recording of Issue Specific Hearing 1 (ISH1) – Part 1 – 13 September 2023

Recording of Issue Specific Hearing 1 (ISH1) – Part 2 – 13 September 2023

HNRFI upcoming Preliminary Meeting (PM) scheduled for Tuesday 12 September 2023 – those who registered as Interested Parties will have been invited to attend either in person or virtually using the following link: https://cvslivestream.co.uk/hinkleyrail/

PLEASE NOTE – any members of the public can use the link above to view proceedings

The purpose of this initial meeting is procedural only, laying out how the examination will work, and no representations will be heard at the meeting.

It is not essential to attend the Preliminary Meeting; whether or not an Interested Party chooses to attend the Preliminary Meeting, they will still be sent details of how to further take part in the Examination.

The Application process

Tritax re-submitted a formal application on the 17th March 2023 to develop the HNRFI.

On 13th April the Planning Inspectorate decided the application meets their requirements – and have accepted it for examination – this is known as the ‘Pre-examination stage and means the Planning Inspectorate has approximately three months to prepare for the Examination. Individuals had the opportunity to register as an Interested Party to provide comments on the project with the Planning Inspectorate and registration closed on 23 June 2023. Stoney Stanton Action Group submitted comments and registered as an Interested Party.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
You can view all the Relevant Representations that were made here

The Applicant (Tritax Symmetry (Hinckley) Limited) must certify to the Planning Inspectorate that it has complied with its application notification requirements.

The Examining Authority, once appointed, will carry out an Initial Assessment of Principal Issues derived from its reading of the application and the Relevant Representations received and set a date for the Preliminary Meeting.

What is the Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange (HNRFI)?

A huge industrial warehouse complex –  expected to consist of up to 850,000 square metres of warehouses. The rail interchange would be capable of accommodate up to 16 trains up to 775m (0.48 miles) in length – and is expected to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

From Tritax Symmetry website https://tritaxsymmetry.com/projects/hinckley-national-rail-freight-interchange/

How big is it? 

In area within the DCO Order Limits Boundary (main site) would be about 830 acres  – which would currently dwarf Stoney Stanton.

HNRFI will cover an area 5 times the size of that being built along the A5 near Hinckley Island (Hinckley Park). Take a look at this video showing the scale of Hinckley Park, multiply it by 5 and imagine the colossal size and devastation of the proposed HNRFI. Given the speculative nature of Hinckley Park, we should question whether it’s really necessary to build another warehousing facility so close?

Where exactly is it planned?

In a huge wedge of predominantly farmland, between the M69 and the Hinckley rail line next to Burbage Common – It will stretch from junction 2 of the M69 to Elmesthorpe. (see the above size comparison graphic for location)

What does this mean for our village and surrounding area?

The scale of scheme means it will have a considerable impact on the environment, landscape, and roads in the area:

  • Destroying the natural habitat for a huge numbers of different speciesDecimating valuable farm and wood land forever
  • Increasing light, noise and environmental pollution to all surrounding villagesIncreasing the traffic through Stoney Stanton to get to the HNRFI or many more commuters wanting to travel South on the M69
  • High levels of traffic pollutionIncreased accident risk to the village centre
  • Thousands more HGV‟s to our already busy roadsOnly expecting up to l0% of freight by rail, if any. The rest will be by road
  • Jobs created will be minimal and over-time will be replaced by automationTake up to 15 years to build and cause massive disruption to our villages
  • Bring no economic value to the immediate area

Why can’t Blaby District Council say “no”?

The development is being proposed as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) and so, whilst local councils are consulted, the final decision is made by the Secretary of State. The following video provides an overview of the NSIP process. NB. HNRFI is currently in the Pre-application stage.

Source: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/application-process/the-process/

When are we being consulted on this?

Tritax undertook an informal consultation in 2018 and a Highways consultation in 2019. As part of the pre-application stage of the process, Tritax also carried out a Statutory and Public Consultation, which ran from 12 January 2022 for 8 weeks.

As part of this consulations, material and exhibitions will be available online and at local venues. The full details of how Tritax will engage with the community is laid out in the Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC). The two files which comprise this can be downloaded below or from the project website.

Should you want to view the Webinars, these can be seen here project website.

What can I do about this?

Please support the Stoney Stanton Action Group using the form above! We’ll help you to write to the right people at the right time and we’ll keep you informed every step of the way.