Why do we need the West Midlands Interchange?
A new Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SFRI) is something that has been long identified as essential for the future prosperity of the West Midlands region. The West Midlands’ strong manufacturing and logistics industrial base is growing and there is a shortage of suitable quality development land for large scale rail-served logistics warehousing.
Businesses are particularly reliant on good logistics support and a SFRI in this part of the West Midlands will continue to ensure the region is competitive in national and international markets. West Midlands Interchange is expected to generate £427m of local economic activity each year, and, through the supply chain, create £912m of economic activity each year nationally.
The Four Ashes site has been identified for its potential to boost economic growth through its location in the M54 Wolverhampton – Staffordshire High Growth Zone. It supports both the Government’s Modern Industrial Strategy and the Midlands Engine, which together aim to help deliver a high-skilled, competitive economy that benefits people in the West Midlands and throughout the UK.
The Government’s policy is to encourage the shift of goods from road to rail to help reduce carbon emissions and provide economic benefits. It is clear that a network of SRFIs across the UK will help realise this vision. Rail freight produces 70% less carbon dioxide (National Networks National Policy Statement, 2014), up to 15 times lower nitrogen oxide emissions and nearly 90% lower particulate emissions than road freight, as well as de-congestion benefits.
Where do you propose to build it?
Following extensive research with a number of regional partners over many years, we have selected a site of approximately 297 hectares either side of a branch of the West Coast Main Line, bounded by the A449 to the west and the A5 to the north where it meets the M6 at junction 12.
Why this location?
The North Black Country/South Staffordshire area was identified as one of the best locations for a SRFI as early as 2004.
It is uniquely situated to meet the long-outstanding need for a large-scale SRFI in this area because:
- It is located adjacent to the strategic road network and intersected by the strategic rail freight network and close to the business and consumer markets it needs to serve;
- The site is on one of a few routes in the UK with the right road and rail access to allow the bigger sized 9’ 6” containers to be moved on the rail network to the rail terminal;
- It has the space needed for large structures, freight access and the location for businesses to develop; and,
- It meets specific pressing local needs for rail-served facilities and warehousing across the West Midlands, particularly the Black Country, Staffordshire, and Birmingham.
Who is behind the scheme?
West Midlands Interchange is being promoted by Four Ashes Limited – a consortium led by Kilbride Holdings.
Kilbride Holdings is working in partnership with privately owned international property group, Grosvenor Group and Piers Monckton, the majority landowner.
The Kilbride Holdings team has developed rail-based projects for Jaguar Land Rover in Halewood and Castle Bromwich, and Honda as well as a number of infrastructure-led developments in the UK.
The partners of Four Ashes Limited are committed to delivering a rail-served development which will bring significant sustainable social and economic benefits to South Staffordshire, the Black Country and the wider region, through responsible design and by taking into account community interests and environmental considerations.