Arsenal legend backs Park Street anti rail freight campaign

PUBLISHED: 15:01 21 August 2015

Former Arsenal and England striker, now Sky Sports pundit, Alan Smith and Herts Advertiser editor Matt Adams with the anti Helioslough letter

Former Arsenal and England striker, now Sky Sports pundit, Alan Smith and Herts Advertiser editor Matt Adams with the anti Helioslough letter

Archant

Arsenal legend and football pundit Alan Smith has lent his support to the campaign to persuade the county council not to sell Green Belt land in Park Street for a massive rail freight terminal.

Herts Advertiser editor Matt Adams and campaigner Andy Love with the anti Helioslough letter outside the Herts Ad officesHerts Advertiser editor Matt Adams and campaigner Andy Love with the anti Helioslough letter outside the Herts Ad offices

He joined Herts Advertiser editor Matt Adams in highlighting a letter addressed to all residents of the county warning that the impact of the building of a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) on the former Radlett Airfield will affect more than just the St Albans district.

Alan, who has been a firm opponent of the Helioslough scheme for the Green Belt former airfield since the outset, said this week: “We have lived in St Albans for 28 years and its our home. We don’t want to see anything arriving which is going to change perceptions of it.”

Urging residents, businesses and workers to sign the petition, he pointed out that the number of lorry movements which are expected to result from the building of an SRFI would have a huge impact across the whole district, not just for those who live near the former airfield.

After protracted public inquiries and legal action, Helioslough now has planning permission to build the SRFI. But the county council has to agree to sell land it owns on Radlett Airfield to make the project viable.

Put the Brakes on Freight - Herts Advertiser campaignPut the Brakes on Freight - Herts Advertiser campaign

An online petition calling on the county council not to sell to Helioslough has over 7,000 signatures but needs 10,000 names by September 26 to compel the local authority to discuss the issue in public.

The letter, compiled by campaigner Andy Love and county councillor Sandy Walkington, warns about the congestion, pollution and risk to road safety for all Herts residents if the SRFI goes ahead.

It reads: “Major roads in our county that could be severely affected include the A414, M25, M1 and A1(M). Increased congestion and traffic delays caused by thousands of lorry movements will potentially damage the wider city and business community and further reduce air quality which is already poor around the county and particularly in the St Albans district.

“The knock-on effects will impact the whole the county’s highway network.”

The letter, which warns about the devastating effect on wildlife and ecology of the 419 hectare development as well as the impact of five years of construction followed by 24/7 operation, urges people in the district and across Herts to sign the petition.

It adds: “Much more of Hertfordshire’s Green Belt could be at risk if this sets a precedent for future developments in the county.”

To sign the petition, click here.

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