A proposed rail freight depot - which would be constructed on Green Belt land near St Albans - is no longer needed, according to a group of campaigners.

'Save St Albans: Fight the Freight' claim that the site is "no longer of strategic national importance", with two alternative rail freight terminals nearby.

Planning permission was approved for the site nine years ago by then Secretary of State Eric Pickles.


Hertfordshire County Council have also agreed to sell the former Radlett Airfield land, but no sale has yet taken place.

'Save St Albans: Fight the Freight' have now sent the council a dossier of "compelling new evidence", suggesting that the local authority do not need to sell the land to rail freight developers Segro.

According to the campaign group, this dossier contains government data, showing a diminishing demand for rail freight terminals, with a "huge drop in imports from the EU since Brexit". 


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The group also claim that rail freight terminals at Willesden - in north-west London - and Sundon Quarry near Luton, have meant that there is "no strategic demand" for a site at Radlett Airfield.

One of the campaign's leaders, Terry Smith, said: "When Radlett was approved in 2014, neither Sundon nor Willesden were functioning.

"Nine years on, they are, with Willesden also set to be the main freight terminal for HS2.

"There is no demand for three rail terminals within 30 miles of each other.

"Especially if Sundon and Radlett are fighting over limited capacity on the same line...

Herts Advertiser: The campaign group protesting outside Herts County Council.The campaign group protesting outside Herts County Council. (Image: Dee Young)

"...The council say they are reluctant sellers.

"Legal counsel said they can refuse to sell if they have good reasons concerning significant material changes since 2014.

"We have now provided them with evidence that the Radlett site is no longer of strategic national importance, and unlikely to become a fully operational rail freight interchange as envisaged when planning was approved.

"They have the good reasons. They now have to stop the sale.”

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council told The Herts Advertiser: "As part of the sale process, the county council has sought and received external updated opinion from Counsel.

"We have made this advice public for review by any interested parties.

"Due to commercial sensitivity, a small section has been redacted but the premise remains that following the approval by the Secretary of State for a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange on this site we are obligated to sell our land interest if a number of conditions are met.”