Praise for continued fight against rail depot

Put the Brakes on Freight - Herts Advertiser campaign

Put the Brakes on Freight - Herts Advertiser campaign - Credit: Archant

Countryside campaigners have praised St Albans council for taking the ‘difficult decision’ to continue fighting against a proposal for a massive rail freight depot on Green Belt land in St Albans.

CPRE Herts has welcomed the council’s decision to mount a legal challenge against the decision by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to grant planning permission for a Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) on the former Radlett Airfield in Park Street.

Mr Pickles gave planning approval despite the fact that he acknowledged that the development was highly damaging to the countryside and historic setting of St Albans as well as totally inappropriate in the Green Belt.

St Albans council has lodged a claim in the High Court against the Secretary of State’s decision. It is challenging the ruling on three points of law, one of which is the inconsistency of Mr Pickles’ judgement in light of his refusal of planning permission for a waste incinerator in Hatfield, also on Green Belt land.

CPRE honorary director, Kevin Fitzgerald, said: “We congratulate St Albans district council on reaching this difficult decision to continue the fight against this proposal which would have a devastating effect on Hertfordshire’s countryside and the quality of life in the surrounding area.

“There has been total opposition to this from all sections of society in and around the location.

“The Secretary of State’s decision makes a mockery of so-called ‘Localism’ and the Government’s much vaunted policy of protecting the Green Belt.”