Hinckley National Rail Freight Interchange

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:00 pm on 11th February 2020.

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Photo of Alberto Costa Alberto Costa Conservative, South Leicestershire 4:00 pm, 11th February 2020

I am not aware of specific plans for counteracting that. Constituents are certainly expressing concerns about those things, and rightly so.

Earlier, I mentioned nearby Magna Park, which purportedly employs more than 10,000 people. My constituency has a welcome unemployment rate of less than 1%, so who will those employment opportunities be for? They will not be for my constituents, and I doubt they will be for neighbouring MPs’ constituents either. In reality, if the proposal were to go ahead and so many employment opportunities were to be created, we would find people commuting from up to an hour away, from as far afield as Milton Keynes, and taking rat runs through the Fosse villages to get to the proposed railway hub terminal. That would put even more pressure on the already problematic infrastructure of the Fosse villages.

At this point, I will bring in the views of Blaby District Council, one of the two excellent Conservative-led local authorities in my constituency. The rail hub is a nationally significant infrastructure project, so Blaby District Council will act as a statutory consultee on the application. The final planning decision will lie with the responsible Secretary of State.

Blaby District Council has informed me that, although the plans are in their pre-submission stage at present, its elected members have made it clear that they cannot support the development in question. They share concerns similar to those that I have expressed today. They are concerned about the impact of heavy goods vehicles travelling through rural villages, the environmental impacts such as light and noise pollution, and the huge increase in traffic, with ecology and the protection of local biodiversity high on the political agenda.