UPDATE: 29th November
In a recent public meeting on the proposed Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange I called on the Planning Inspectorate to not recommend this application to the Secretary of State for Transport.
Whether it is concerns over modelling on employment and traffic levels, missing information or a lack of adequate time for legal consultees to carry out detailed assessments, the developer, Tritax Symmetry, have appeared to dodge and duck key questions throughout this whole process.
As I said to the Planning Inspectorate, if they cannot be sure that the national benefit of this Rail Freight Interchange fully outweighs the horrific impact it will have on our community, both in its build and operation, then they must recommend this application does not go ahead.
You can read more here: Dr Luke says 'The Planning Inspectorate must not recommend' HNRFI application | Dr Luke Evans MP
UPDATE: 10th November
The Planning Inspectorate has published the full recording of the Open Floor Hearing last week.
You can watch my speech here: (from 20m 20s) Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange | YouTube
UPDATE: 8th November
I am pleased to see that our local paper, The Hinckley Times, has reported on the lack of information from Tritax Symmetry and issues I raised regarding this proposal at last week's public meeting.
I will continue to work on this issue and keep you updated.
UPDATE: 2nd November
Speaking at today's public meeting on the proposed HNRFI, I asked the Planning Inspectorate how it can pass judgment when the very statutory bodies it relies on are, themselves, unable to do so due to insufficient information provided by the applicant and urged them not to recommend the application.
Read my thoughts on today's hearing here: Bosworth MP says Planning Inspectorate “must not recommend” Hinckley Rail Hub | Dr Luke Evans MP
UPDATE: 25th September
There’s still time for registered Interested Parties to have their say on the proposed Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange.
Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicestershire (where the rail hub risks being built), and I are working together to ensure the Planning Inspectorate hears ours and our communities key issues and concerns with the application.
UPDATE: 14 September
On Tuesday the Planning Inspectorate held the first meeting on the proposed Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange (NRFI), in which process and decision deadlines were laid out and agreed.
Following the meeting I wanted to make those of you who have registered as Interested Parties aware that the deadline for submission of comments and summaries on Relevant Representations and request to speak at future meetings is October 10th.
Unfortunately, as I was sitting on a Legislative Committee in Parliament, I was unable to attend the meeting but a member of my team attended to represent me.
I’m pleased to share that the concerns I raised in a recent letter to the Planning Inspectorate regarding the choice of venue for the initial meeting which was held in Leicester, and the date for both MPs not being able to attend, have been heard and that future meetings will be held locally. I have been informed that registered Interested Parties will be notified of these meetings with sufficient notice.
If you have registered as an Interested Party and are not receiving the email notifications from the Planning Inspectorate, please let me know and I will inform them.
Below is further information you might find useful...
Comments and summaries on Relevant Representations
The following links are useful in providing comments on your Relevant Representations (these would have been submitted in May and June when registering as an Interested Party):
- What to submit in a Relevant Representation (sections 6 and 7 are most applicable): https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/legislation-and-advice/advice-notes/advice-note-8-2-how-to-register-to-participate-in-an-examination/
- How to participate in the upcoming Examination Stage: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/legislation-and-advice/advice-notes/advice-note-8-4-the-examination/
- All documents pertaining to the application: https://national-infrastructure-consenting.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/TR050007/documents
Requests to be heard at future meetings
Registered Interested Parties who wish to speak at an Issue Specific Hearing, a Compulsory Acquisition Hearing or an Open Floor Hearing should also submit their requests to do so by October 10th.
Details of these meetings can be found on page 29 (E3) of the note pertaining to the Preliminary Meeting: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/TR050007/TR050007-001112-Rule%206%20Holding%20Doc.pdf
Further deadlines, including other issues to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by October 10th can be found from page 27 (E1) of the note pertaining to the Preliminary Meeting: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/TR050007/TR050007-001112-Rule%206%20Holding%20Doc.pdf
I will continue to work alongside Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicestershire where the HNRFI risks being built, on this issue (you can see details of my work so far here: https://www.drlukeevans.org.uk/campaigns/NRFI-proposals) and will be in contact in due course with further updates.
UPDATE: 31 August
Following news that the Preliminary Meeting for the Hinckley NRFI proposal is to take place on September 12th, I have written to the Planning Inspectorate to express my concerns relating to the choice of venue for the meeting.
There are many local venues, both in our area and in the South Leicestershire constituency (where the Hinckley NRFI is proposed to be located) which would have been suitable and, most importantly, easier for residents and Interested Parties to attend than the Leicester Tigers Conference and Events Venue.
You can read the letter here: Letter from Dr Luke Evans MP to the Planning Inspectorate - August 2023 | Dr Luke Evans MP
UPDATE: 11 August
I have now received formal notice from the Planning Inspectorate that the Preliminary Meeting for the Hinckley NRFI proposal is to go ahead on Tuesday 12th September.
All those who have registered as an Interested Party will have been emailed details of when and where the meeting will take place.
It's important to note that this meeting is not an opportunity for Interested Party's to share their views on the application.
A livestream link of the meeting will be made available on this webpage if you wish to watch, with a recording published shortly after the meeting has taken place: Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange | National Infrastructure Planning (planninginspectorate.gov.uk)
UPDATE: 8 August
I have received the following response from the Planning Inspectorate:
"The information was unfortunately released too early due to an error with the website. This has now been rectified and the banner has now been taken down.
"The invitations will be with all interested parties in due course."
I will continue to monitor the PINS website and keep you all updated.
UPDATE: 7 August
The Planning Inspectorate website states that the Preliminary Meeting for the Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange proposals will take place on Tuesday 12th September 2023.
Please see below from the Planning Inspectorate for further information:
"The Preliminary Meeting will be held on Tuesday 12 September 2023. Invitations to this meeting have been sent to Interested Parties.
"The Preliminary Meeting is held in public and concerns procedural matters only. 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 Procedural Decision, setting the timetable for the Examination including deadlines for receipt of detailed Written Representations and for comments on the Relevant Representations made by other Interested Parties, will be made after the Preliminary Meeting and will be published on this project page. It will also be available on request from HinckleySRFI@planninginspectorate.gov.uk and our helpline: 0303 444 5000."
Despite registering as an Interested Party in June, I have not received an invitation - as mentioned in the first paragraph of the PINS update - to the meeting. I will be chasing this up.
You can stay up-to-date on the application's process here: Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange | National Infrastructure Planning (planninginspectorate.gov.uk)
UPDATE: 14 July
Yesterday Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicestershire where the Hinckley NRFI risks being built, and I hosted a roundtable meeting with the Planning Inspectorate, local parish councils and concerned community groups to discuss the proposals.
You can read more on this here: Discussing Hinckley NRFI proposals with the Planning Inspectorate | Dr Luke Evans MP
UPDATE: 7 June
Today I was pleased to see Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicestershire where the Hinckley NRFI risks being built, raise our community's concerns with the Deputy Prime Minister.
Alberto raised local concerns about the 440-acre proposal’s environment impact, its potential to overburden infrastructure and the effect it may have for passengers using public transport. He went on to ask for the Deputy Prime Minister’s assurances that the planning process will be fair, robust and that residents will be listened to.
You can read more about Alberto's question and the Deputy PM's response here: Alberto raises local Rail Hub concerns with Deputy Prime Minister | Alberto Costa MP
UPDATE: 17 May
Last week, the Leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt MP, joined me in calling on concerned residents across Hinckley and Bosworth to share their views on the Hinckley NRFI proposals directly with the planning Inspectorate - who makes a recommendation based on evidence gathered.
This is a critical step in ensuring our community is listened to.
You can watch my question and Penny Mordaunt's response here: Dr Luke and Penny Mordaunt urge residents to share views on Hinckley NRFI proposals | Dr Luke Evans MP
UPDATE: 12 May
Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicestershire, and I have urged constituents and organisations to register as an Interested Party and share their thoughts on the proposed Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange (NRFI).
This has been, and will continue to be, a long process. But this step is critical. For many people in our area who care deeply about our community and our environment. This is their chance to share their strong feelings towards the Hinckley NRFI proposals.
It’s imperative that constituents and organisations take the time to read the documents provided on the Planning Inspectorate website and share their thoughts on which parts of the proposals will impact their daily lives and our precious greenspace.
I’m conscious this may feel like Groundhog Day to residents who took part in the – at times, very testing – public consultation held by the developer, Tritax Symmetry, last year.
Any comments you provide as an Interested Party go straight to the Planning Inspectorate. So if you have an opinion, this is how to make it count!
You can read more here: Local MPs urge public to have their say on Hinckley Rail Hub proposals | Dr Luke Evans MP
UPDATE: 10 May
From today, constituents and organisations are able to register as an Interested Party and so that they may take part in the Examination Stage and share their thoughts on the Hinckley NRFI proposals.
This is your chance to formally have your say!
You can read about the proposals here: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/east-midlands/hinckley-national-rail-freight-interchange/?ipcsection=overview
Register as an Interested Party here: https://national-infrastructure-consenting.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/register-have-your-say/TR050007
Upon entering a few details (name, address, email and phone number) a page will appear which asks “What do you want to tell us about this proposed project?”
The page goes on to say ‘Your comments must be about what you consider to be the main issues and impacts. You can also include anything that may affect your day-to-day life.’
After registering as an Interested Party, residents and businesses will be able to submit further comments during the Examination stage of the application.
UPDATE: 14 April
Yesterday I received news that the application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) for the Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange has moved onto the examination stage.
The application has now entered the formal pre-examination period.
I would like to share with you correspondence I have received which details the next stages:
"During the pre-examination period, an inspector or panel of inspectors will be appointed as the Examining Authority from within the Planning Inspectorate. At this stage, all registered Interested Parties will be invited to attend a Preliminary Meeting, run and chaired by the Examining Authority, to discuss procedural issues and the timetable for examination.
"The examination stage will begin the day after the close of the Preliminary Meeting, at which point the Examining Authority will have six months to examine the application."
If you or anyone you know in our area would like to become an Interested Party and engage in the application process, you can find out more here: Participating in the process | National Infrastructure Planning (planninginspectorate.gov.uk)
UPDATE: 31 March
Following the meeting Alberto and I had with Huw Merriman, Rail Minister, we have received a letter from Huw detailing the next steps of the HNRFI proposals and how constituents can ensure their views are heard with regard to the proposal.
In short, he states that following the submission of the application by Tritax, should the application be accepted for consideration, residents can register as an 'Interested Party' in order to have their opinions heard on the proposals.
"Now an application has been submitted and should it be accepted for Examination, there will be an opportunity for anyone with an interest in the scheme to register to be an Interested Party and to be involved in the Examination of this application. More details on the application, next steps and how stakeholders will be engaged in the process should the application be accepted, can be found here.
"Following our meeting, I asked my officials to advise on the best way to ensure that local stakeholders in your constituencies can be informed of the Development Consent Order (DCO) process. As the Planning Inspectorate are responsible for examining applications for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects such as this one, including engagement throughout the application process with all relevant parties, they would be best placed to explain the process to your constituents rather than officials in the Department for Transport."
I have attached Huw's full letter below.
UPDATE: 21 March
My office has been informed that Tritax Symmetry, the developers behind the Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange proposals, submitted an application to the Planning Inspectorate on Friday March 17th. You can see updates on the process and documents relating to the application here: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/east-midlands/hinckley-national-rail-freight-interchange/
I am currently in the process of arranging for local stakeholder groups to meet with the Planning Inspectorate to discuss how they may have a meaningful input in the process.
I will keep this page updated on further developments with regard to the Hinckley NRFI and my work on this matter.
UPDATE: 8 February
I sat down with Alberto Costa MP, whose constituency of South Leicestershire risks the NRFI being built in, and Rail Minister Huw Merriman, to discuss the Government’s policy for the placement of Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges.
With multiple Rail Freight Interchanges already located within 40 miles of the proposed Hinckley site we must look at whether another one is truly necessary, particularly when it dominates and encroaches on the local environment, such as our wonderful Burbage Common. A joined up national strategy is essential.
You can read more about our meeting here: Local MPs raise national Rail Hub policy with Transport Minister | Dr Luke Evans MP
UPDATE: 29 November 2022
Alberto Costa, the MP for South Leicestershire - whose constituency the NRFI risks being built in - and I have written to the Transport Secretary to share our concerns over the Hinckley NRFI plans upon learning that proposals will be submitted in the next month or two.
Following news that Tritax have concluded the consultation into the viability of a Rail Freight Interchange in Hinckley I have also written to the developers to request a list of any amendments made to the proposals previously shared with us. While lowering the maximum height of the building from 33m to 28m is welcome, many questions from our community regarding the strain on transport links remain unanswered.
Alberto and I will continue to work together on this, ensuring the Government are aware of the concerns raised by many people across both Bosworth and South Leicestershire about the impact this will have on our infrastructure and the local environment, particularly our wonderful Burbage Common.
UPDATE: 03 November 2022
Constituents have brought to my attention news from Tritax Symmetry that they are planning to submit proposals in the coming weeks. I have not formally received such information.
I understand they have signalled, following concerns from people in our area, that the proposed maximum building height will be lowered from 33m to 28m.
I have written to Tritax to ask:
1. For a full list of amendments they’ve made, and
2. A date for when they intend to formally submit these plans.
As ever I will keep in contact with Alberto Costa, the MP for South Leicestershire, whose constituency the NRFI risks being built in.
This is a work in progress, but I will continue to follow these updates closely and keep this page and my social media channels abreast of any relevant information my office and I receive.
UPDATE: 6th July 2022
Met with Robert Courts, a Department for Transport Minister, with Alberto Costa MP for South Leicestershire to discuss the upcoming proposals.
Alberto and I raised concerns again formally with the Minister and asked, procedurally, what steps we can take to ensure our constituents’ strongly held views are heard.
UPDATE: 21 June 2022
Dr Luke Evans, MP for Bosworth, spoke in a Westminster Hall Debate against the NRFI proposals. You can watch Luke's interventions here: Westminster Hall debate on the NRFI proposals
Read the full transcript of the debate and the Minister’s response, here: Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange - Hansard - UK Parliament
UPDATE: 22 April 2022
I personally don’t think the Rail Freight Interchange should go ahead. While it may help us nationally reach net zero, I am concerned by the overwhelming impact it will have on our roads and infrastructure and our local environment. There are further complications with the rail line outside of our constituency, and not to mention the fact that the East Midlands Freeport has been given the greenlight.
The Freeport is wonderful news for us all as it will bring 60,000 jobs and green investment to our region. Coincidently, it proposes to have a rail freight interchange within one of its three sites. This leads to the question: why do we need another just down the road in Hinckley?
Read the rest of my article here: "I don’t think the Rail Freight Interchange should go ahead" says Bosworth MP in local paper | Dr Luke Evans MP
UPDATE: 14 April 2022
Thank you to everyone who responded to my Protect Burbage Common survey. Below are a snapshot of the results.
A paper copy of the survey was sent to around 12,500 residents who live in the vicinity of the proposed Interchange, and available on my website for 10 weeks. Just under 1,100 responses were received and the overwhelming majority (96%, equating to 1,049 respondents) stated they are against the proposals. The same number believe the Interchange would have a detrimental impact on the area with residents citing their biggest concerns being the environmental impact and burden on local infrastructure.
I asked for respondents to note down some thoughts about the proposals. Tellingly, some of the most used words were ‘traffic’, ‘pollution’, ‘impact’ and ‘wildlife’. Concerns were also raised regarding the additional strain that the Interchange would place on the M69 and the A5. The latter is already under a lot of pressure and is another local issue I am working hard on. Simply put, I don’t believe our current infrastructure is fit for purpose, let alone adding the idea of a Rail Freight
Read more at this link: Bosworth MP shares results of Protect Burbage Common survey | Dr Luke Evans MP
UPDATE: 10th February 2022
MP for Bosworth, Dr Luke Evans, has submitted a formal complaint to the developer of the proposed NRFI, after residents raised concerns regarding the organisation of a consultation event in Burbage, and the treatment of those who attended.
Developer Tritax Symmetry held the event on the 24 January at Millenium Hall for people to view the Interchange proposals, speak to representatives from Tritax, and have their say on the plans.
Following this event, however, several constituents contacted Dr Luke to report that some of those who attended had to wait outside in the cold for over an hour to get into the small venue, that no seating was set out for those who could not stand for long periods of time, that the information provided by Tritax staff was unclear, and that it was difficult to hear what was being said in the crowded room.
After being made aware of this, the Bosworth MP has now formally complained in writing to Tritax Symmetry regarding the organisation of the event, and the treatment of those who attended.
Dr Luke said: “The public consultation is an absolutely vital part of the planning process for this proposal, and I am determined that local residents are given the opportunity to have their say, and are able to access the correct information to be able to do so. The conditions which local attendees reported at this consultation event were unacceptable, so I have formally submitted a complaint to the developer. Thank you to the local residents who brought the issue to my attention.”
Local MP launches campaign to Protect Burbage Common
MP for Bosworth, Dr Luke Evans, has launched a campaign to protect Burbage Common from the proposed NRFI adjacent to Hinckley, following resident’s concerns that traffic and wildlife will be adversely affected.
If the plans are successful, the Interchange will be built just off the M69, with the potential to significantly impact much-loved local wildlife habitat, Burbage Common. The completed Interchange would include Industrial and storage/distribution units, a rail port and lorry park, dedicated road access directly from Junction 2 of the M69 and associated highway works, as well as landscaping including footpath and cycle links.
Although the grounds where the Common is situated would remain, local residents have raised concerns that if the plans were successful, local traffic, wildlife and the environment would all be affected. Dr Luke met local community group Save Burbage Common in previous months, and joined fellow Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa at a parish council meeting in October to discuss the Interchange plans, and the impact on the local area.
As the Interchange is considered a proposal of national significance, a formal application will be made by Tritax Symmetry to the Secretary of State for a Development Consent Order through the Infrastructure Planning Unit, which is administered through the Planning Inspectorate.
Dr Luke said: “The proposals for the National Rail Freight Interchange have the potential to adversely affect our much-loved beauty spot Burbage Common, so I have launching a campaign to help protect it. Residents near the Common have raised concerns about traffic, wildlife and the environment, if the Interchange were to be built.”