Earlier this year Dr Luke Evans, MP for Bosworth, launched a campaign to Protect Burbage Common in response to the proposed National Rail Freight Interchange adjacent to Hinckley. Dr Luke shares significant concerns with many constituents about potential adverse effects on wildlife and traffic.
If the plans are successful, the Rail Freight Interchange would be built just off junction 2 of the M69 and may significantly impact much-loved local wildlife habitat Burbage Common. While the site for the Interchange itself is not in Dr Luke’s constituency, Burbage Common and the proposed road which will link the Interchange to the A47 being so close to Hinckley, are in his patch.
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 Dr Luke’s 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. The MP has submitted this report to the official statutory consultation to ensure the views of local people are heard.
Dr Luke asked constituents who completed the survey to note down some of their thoughts about the proposals. Tellingly, some of the most used words were ‘traffic’, ‘pollution’, ‘impact’ and ‘wildlife’. Respondents also raised concerns about additional pressures on the M69, A5 and surrounding villages which could bear the brunt of increased pressure on local infrastructure.
In addition to commissioning the survey Dr Luke has written to the Secretary of State for Transport Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP to reiterate concerns he shares with constituents about the proposal. In this letter, Dr Luke highlighted the importance of Burbage Common to local people, detailing the detrimental effect that the large industrial complex would have. The Transport Secretary was also informed of the worry among constituents that their views were not being considered and local amenities are under threat. The letter and a response from the Department for Transport can be found here.
Dr Luke’s role as the Member of Parliament for Bosworth means he has no say in any planning decisions affecting the area. However, as the area’s representative he is working hard to ensure that the concerns of residents are heard both locally and in Westminster, and that due process is followed. Issues were quickly raised by constituents regarding a consultation event in Burbage and - following a complaint made by the Bosworth MP to the developer - the consultation period was, crucially, extended.
Dr Luke Evans said “I would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey and share their concerns with me and my team. While we wait for the results of the statutory consultation it is clear from my questionnaire there is wide spread concern. I too believe that fundamentally our local infrastructure in its current state would not support the development, that the green space of Burbage common is too valuable an asset to lose, and that consideration should be made of the fact a rail freight interchange is proposed for the East Midlands Freeport just up the road, posing the question: is the one in Hinckley truly necessary?
“Through my website and social media channels I will keep everyone appraised of any relevant updates on the Interchange and my work on it. I look forward to Tritax Symmetry sharing the results of their consultation.”