New North Lanarkshire rail freight terminal approved

The Mossend site
The Mossend site

Plans for a new rail freight terminal in North Lanarkshire have been approved in principle by Scottish ministers.

PD Stirling, the company behind the scheme, said MSPs had approved plans for an international rail freight terminal in Mossend, Bellshill, despite “some local concern”.

The decision comes after North Lanarkshire Council last year refused to grant permission for the scheme after receiving objections from locals despite some council officials arguing the potential economic benefits for the area outweighed the loss of the greenbelt land.

PD Stirling is to expand its existing operations at Bellshill to create its Mosshead international railfreight park (MIRP), with the company saying up to 4,900 new jobs could be delivered during the construction and operation phases.

The proposed development will include the following expansion:

  • Modern, strategic rail facility in central Scotland with connections to the UK and Europe

  • Expanded Railhead including 775m sidings of international standard
  • 200,000m² (2.2m sqft) of onsite storage, distribution, service and logistics facilities
  • A new access road to the north of the site
  • A network of community greenspace

  • Company bosses believe that creating a new hub for rail freight will help take large lorries off local roads and provide a more sustainable alternative for companies looking to move goods.

    PD Stirling director David Stirling said: “We’re delighted with today’s decision as it will open up new opportunities for rail freight and sustainable low-carbon logistics in Scotland.

    “MIRP will create a major new rail freight facility and help to secure new investment and economic activity both in Lanarkshire and across Scotland.

    “MIRP will be able to compete favourably on cost with road transport, extend choice and support the sustainable movement of goods to and from Scotland.

    “We recognise that there has been some local concern but are looking forward to working with residents to put in place locally-supported management for the proposed community woodland which will include walkways, woodlands and cycle routes.”

    A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Having carefully considered the reporter’s report and the issues raised in objections, Scottish ministers have decided to grant planning permission in principle for the expansion of the Mossend Railhead, incorporating industrial and business uses, a Community Green Network and related transport improvements.

    “National Planning Framework 3 (NPF3) and Scottish Planning Policy support modal shift of freight transport from road to rail.

    “Mossend, along with Coatbridge and Grangemouth, is identified as an important interchange in the central belt.

    “Ministers welcome the potential economic benefits of the proposal as well as the opportunity to enhance transport and green infrastructure in the local area.

    “The decision letter sets out in full the grounds for the decision and ministers cannot comment further on their decision.”

    A spokeswoman for North Lanarkshire Council said: “We have received notice of the appeal decision, and are reviewing the implications before deciding on our next course of action.”

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