Greenbelt protest steps up a gear

Greenbelt protestors make their point in Bellshill
Greenbelt protestors make their point in Bellshill

Campaigners staged a protest as a Scottish Government official visited the proposed site of a controversial industrial development in Bellshill.

A vehicle carrying the Government reporter was forced to stop as members of Bellshill Greenbelt Alliance stood in the road with placards.

They are angry at plans for Mossend International Railfreight Park which they say would take away the last greenbelt in the area.

Peter D Stirling, which already operates in the area, says the expansion of its base would create nearly 5,000 jobs.

The project was approved by the Scottish Government despite its original reporter recommending it be rejected, but it appeared doomed last year when the Court of Session ruled against it.

However, the Government has told the campaigners that wasn’t the end of the matter.

The Court of Session judges criticised the Government for not giving clear reasons why the development should be approved.

A Government spokesman said: “The appeal now needs to be re-determined.

“As is normal practice, a new reporter has been appointed to consider the proposal. He will submit a further report to Scottish Ministers who will make the final decision on this appeal.

“He will consider the proposal as originally submitted.”

Sharon Hailstones, of Bellshill Greenbelt Alliance, said: “We are very disappointed that the applicant won’t accept the will of the Bellshill people and the decision made by the council and the previous reporter.

“The people living near the proposed development will continue to oppose an increase in noise, light and air pollution close to their homes. We trust that the new reporter will have the same understanding of the situation and legislation of his predecessor.”