Before I answer my hon. Friend’s question, I welcome him to this Westminster Hall debate. I appreciate that he cannot speak this afternoon because he has yet to make his maiden speech. The rail freight interchange will have as much of an impact on his constituency of Bosworth as it will on my constituency of South Leicestershire. The 24/7 impact on the current infrastructure—let alone the very modest additional infrastructure that has been proposed—will be detrimental to his constituents as well as to mine.
I will put the location of the proposal into context. The planned site for the Hinkley rail hub would, in its totality, encompass a 440-acre area; for comparison, that is almost a quarter of the size of Gatwick airport. We are talking about a very large area that is currently beautiful rolling South Leicestershire countryside. The site will neighbour the historic and picturesque county villages of Elmesthorpe, Stoney Stanton, Sapcote, Sharnford, Aston Flamville, Potters Marston, Croft, Huncote, Thurlaston and Wigston Parva, which are collectively and colloquially referred to as the Fosse villages.
I appreciate that people in the Chamber—with the exception of those in the Public Gallery—will not be familiar with the Fosse villages, much to their detriment. The settlements, many of which date back to medieval times, vary in size and, because of their location, share a collective bond in this area of Leicestershire. My constituents in the Fosse villages contend with overburdened infrastructure at the very best of times.