Rt Hon Valerie Vaz MP has written to the independent review of HS2 to express her concern about the decision-making process behind Network Rail’s proposed Bescot Concrete Sleeper Factory. Valerie Vaz MP said:

“I have written to Douglas Oakervee CBE, Chair of the HS2 reviews about the proposed Bescot Sleeper Factory at the Bescot Railway Sidings in Sandwell. HGVs carrying aggregate material from the site would regularly travel through Walsall South and its development would directly impact my constituents.”

“In Walsall South it is estimated that 4000 HGV deliveries would be needed during construction of the Bescot Concrete Sleeper Factory and between 7,776 and 12,816 deliveries would be made each year once it is operational. This equates to between 2 and 35 HGVs travelling through Walsall South each day. The factory would operate twenty-four hours a day and the route passes homes, schools and care homes. My constituents, who already face high levels of air pollution, are opposed to the development.”

“Network Rail submitted a planning application to Sandwell MBC on 5 August 2019. The Council’s Director of Regeneration and Growth has confirmed to me that the ‘proposed development does not accord with the provisions of the Development Plan in force in the area in which it is situated.’”

“Network Rail have acknowledged that there were 28 sites for the factory under consideration, including Crewe which has extensive existing rail infrastructure. However the Environmental Statement, submitted with the Bescot Planning application, only provides a detailed analysis of six alternative sites, not including Crewe. The Environmental Statement, a document over 2000 pages long, was only made available with the planning application despite Network Rail promising to make the document available to me in February 2019”

“Walsall has some of the highest levels of air pollution in the country owing to its proximity to the M6 and the congestion on its major roads. This development would worsen air quality in Walsall and increase congestion. Residents do not wish to see a factory built on the Bescot Railway Sidings.“