Department of Transport
Parliament to decide future of new freight railway
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Parliament to decide future of new freight railway
type Press release
The application by Central Railway plc to construct a new railway
from the Midlands to the Channel Tunnel is to be referred to
Parliament, John Watts, Minister for Railways and Roads, announced
Commenting on an Answer to a Parliamentary Question from Keith Hill
MP (Labour - Streatham), the full text of which is attached, John
The proposal to build this new railway is clearly of national
significance. Under the Transport and Works Act I have, therefore,
decided to use the powers under section nine of the Transport and
Works Act to give Parliament an opportunity to decide whether the
project should go forward for detailed consideration at a public
local inquiry. This will be the first application under the Act where
this special Parliamentary procedure will be used.
The Central Railway project involves the construction of a new
railway mainly for freight use from mid-Leicestershire to the Channel
Tunnel, including a six mile tunnel from Olympia to Streatham and
freight terminals close to the M1/M6 junction in the Midlands and
near to the M40/M25 interchange in Buckinghamshire.
The Parliamentary debates cannot take place for at least eight weeks
after the publication of a notice in the London Gazette identifying
the application and the proposals which the Department
considers are of national significance. This notice will appear in
Fridays issue of the London Gazette (24 May). The dates of the
debates in each House will be decided in due course.
The Debate in each House will be on a motion moved by a Minister
seeking the House's approval of the Central Railway proposals.
This is a technical requirement arising from the wording of the TWA.
It does not mean that Ministers will speak in support of the motion.
The Government will convey its views having considered Central
If either House rejects the resolution, the application would fall.
Approval by both Houses would enable the proposals to go forward
for detailed consideration at a public inquiry.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. Central Railway plc applied to the Secretary of State on 20 May
for an Order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 (TWA) seeking
powers to build a new freight railway from near Lutterworth in
Leicestershire to the Channel Tunnel. The proposed route would
include reinstating part of the old Great Central railway line and
acquiring part of the Chiltern Line. A six mile tunnel would be
required from Olympia to Streatham from where the railway would run
adjacent to the existing Brighton line through East Croydon to south
of Coulsdon. A new tunnel through the North Downs would take the
railway to Tonbridge and then to Ashford and the Channel Tunnel,
mainly adjoining existing railway lines.
2. The draft Order includes provision for all necessary ancillary
works, including two freight terminal sites at the M1/M6 junction
near Rugby and at New Denham in Buckinghamshire, close to the M25 and
M40. The proposed Order contains compulsory acquisition powers in
respect of land needed for the construction and use of the works.
Central Railway have applied also for deemed planning permission.
3. The procedures relating to schemes of national significance are
set out in section nine of the TWA. All of the relevant local
planning authorities and all objectors whose land or rights in land
would be compulsorily acquired must receive a copy of the London
Gazette notice stating that the project is to be referred to
Parliament. The debates in each House will be on a motion moved by a
Minister. As there must be a gap of more than eight weeks between the
London Gazette notice and the debates, Parliament will not be able to
consider the proposals before the week commencing 22 July.
4. Under the TWA Applications Rules, objectors have six weeks from
the date of the application to make written representations to the
Department. Lists containing the names and addresses of all
persons who make such representations will be placed in the Library
of the House of Commons.
HOUSE OF COMMONS
Mr Keith Hill (Lab - Streatham)
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent
submissions he has received from Central Railways plc.
MR JOHN WATTS
On Monday 20 May, an application was received from Central Railways
plc for an Order under the Transport and Works Act 1992. I have
decided that Parliament should have an opportunity to debate the
principle of the proposals before a public local inquiry is held. A
notice to this effect will appear in the London Gazette on Friday 24
May and in local newspapers along the route of the proposed railway
as soon as practicable.
Wednesday 22 May 1996
2137/95/96 Department of Transport
Railhub Archive ::: 1996-05-22 DoT-001