Railfreight inquiry call over bridge work

Mossend Railhead expansion is planned
Mossend Railhead expansion is planned

A call for an independent probe into the decision to approve Mossend International Railfreight Park was made this week.

Campaigners want to know why a bridge over the M8 linking the site was built before the controversial project got the go-ahead.

Labour politicians, meanwhile, are calling on the SNP Government to reconsider its decision. Central Scotland MSP Mark Griffin accused ministers of “running roughshod over the views of local people” opposed to the development on environmental grounds.

However, Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Richard Lyle dismissed the protests as “sour grapes” and insisted the railfreight park will provide thousands of much-needed jobs.

The PD Stirling proposals were approved by a Scottish Government reporter after a second public inquiry. North Lanarkshire Council had refused planning permission and made a successful legal challenge after the Government ruled it could go ahead.

Also this month, revised plans for an incinerator two miles away at Carnbroe on the other side of the A8 were lodged with the council.

Bellshill Community Council members John Devlin and Joe Gorman believe waste arriving by rail at Mossend could be transported by road from the railfreight park to the incinerator.

They say the motorway bridge and proposed associated roads suggest a link between the two developments.

In a statement the pair asked: “Why was a road bridge (now completed and built at public expense) over the M8 to PD Stirling’s private road included in the upgrade plans for the M8 years before PD Stirling even submitted their first planning application?

“It seems Stirling’s plans and those for the incinerator were always going to be passed. Why else would they build the access bridge which forms a direct link?

“Why would the bridge be completed when residents were led to believe they were waiting for an unbiased genuine decision on the PD Stirling development?”

MSP Mr Griffin has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament, saying the lives of more than 1000 people “will be made a misery” because of the railfreight park.

However, the SNP’s Mr Lyle said the development will create 4000 jobs and cut the number of HGVs on the roads. He slammed Labour for “casting doubt on the impartiality of the decision-making process”.

Mr Lyle said the railfreight park plans had helped the area secure millions of pounds under the City Deal scheme and praised the Scottish Roads Partnership for showing “foresight” in building the M8 bridge ahead of the PD Stirling outcome.

The MSP added: “This is sour grapes from those questioning the process. Do people want jobs created or not?”

Transport Scotland rejected the bridge claim. A spokesman said: ““The purpose of Carnbroe Road Accommodation Bridge was to prevent Carnbroe Mains Farm from being cut off by the new road network and provide ongoing access for landowners.”

PD Stirling refused to comment on the claims that waste will be transported to the incinerator from its site.

A spokesman said: “The warehousing facility we are proposing is designed to meet the needs of fast moving consumer goods customers who are seeking high quality facilities and excellent onward connections.”