Canal charity secures green light for inland port at Stourton

Leeds Inland Port will help take up to 0.5 million tonnes of freight traffic off roads

Designs revealed for Leeds Inland Port at Stourton Wharf

Inland waterway route will take freight from North Sea into Leeds

Construction to commence summer 2020

Canal & River Trust has secured full planning permission from Leeds City Council, to bring the vision for Leeds Inland Port at Stourton Wharf in West Yorkshire one step closer.

As South Leeds Life reported at the time, the waterway and wellbeing charity that looks after 2,000 miles of the nation’s canals, submitted its planning application to Leeds City Council in 2018 and is now speaking to West Yorkshire Combined Authority to secure the £3.37 million needed for the scheme.

Designs for Leeds Inland Port have also been revealed by Canal & River Trust, which hopes to commence construction onsite in summer 2020.  Aggregates will initially be the first goods to be delivered to the site. Plans to accommodate other goods and container freight are also under development.

The site on the south bank of the River Aire at Stourton

Sean McGinley, Yorkshire & North East director from Canal & River Trust, explained:

“We are looking forward to progressing our plans to realise Leeds Inland Port which will have capacity to take up to half a million tonnes of freight traffic off the roads. The overall marketplace for freight within West Yorkshire is over ten million tonnes per annum and the potential to move a considerable proportion of this by water is high.

“Leeds Inland Port presents a fantastic opportunity for our charity to help to reduce the environmental impact of transporting goods, reducing carbon emissions and road congestion, as inland waterways across the world continue to be effective and efficient transport corridors. By improving the connection between Leeds and the North Sea through our canal network, we hope to pave the way for further development of the inland waterway freight sector across Britain and internationally.”

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, the Rt Hon Jake Berry MP, said:

“I am excited to support this pioneering new project from the Canal & River Trust to create a new inland port at Stourton Wharf in Leeds.

“The new port, removing up to half a million tonnes of freight traffic from local roads and relieving traffic congestion, will create a host of new economic opportunities not just for people in Leeds but throughout this key region of the Northern Powerhouse.

“This major infrastructure project supports the wider investment the Government is making in Leeds with over £694.5 million of Local Growth funding to spur regeneration, create new jobs and level up communities.”

Councillor James Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member for air quality, said:

“Utilising our waterways better to improve the flow of road traffic and cut air pollution is a real step forward in helping to shape the city’s greener, cleaner future.

“Our city’s waterways have historically played a significant role in transportation and with this new investment rightfully reinstate their importance for moving goods once again.”

The Yorkshire and North East waterways region handles on average 330,000 tonnes of freight per annum. The Aire & Calder Navigation is classified as a commercial waterway under the 1963 Transport Act and is recognised as priority freight route in the Trust’s freight policy.

The Aire & Calder Navigation provides sustainable transport routes between Leeds, South Yorkshire and the Humber Ports. Barges using the inland port at Leeds will be able to grow the freight volume significantly, making a significant contribution to reducing road congestion and improving air quality.

Route from Goole along the Aire & Calder Navigation to Leeds Inland Port, less than 3 miles outside the city centre

The announcement comes a year after the waterway and wellbeing charity co-hosted a major international conference Freight by Water in October 2018 with the Freight Transport Association (FTA) whereby the Trust outlined a vision to develop a viable and sustainable transport corridor from the North Sea to Leeds.

Alex Veitch, FTA lead on water freight and coordinator of Freight by Water conference said:

“There’s never been a better time for businesses to explore waterways as a means of freight transport. Waterways provide businesses with the perfect opportunity to reduce costs and environmental impact and should be an integral part of any effective multi-modal logistics strategy. However, further investment in infrastructure is urgently needed to help reach its full potential.”

This post is based on press release issued by the Canal & Rivers Trust

Main photo: The three last barges to run on the Aire & Calder Navigation in 2013. They operated from the River Trent at Besthorpe to Whitwood near Castleford.


One Reply to “Canal charity secures green light for inland port at Stourton”

  1. Could this initiative be taken a few steps further by utilising the canal network and the navigable parts of the River Aire to facilitate transport of non time sensitive materials from the Hull/Goole area to Manchester and Liverpool. Goods such as Aggregates and containers would be ideal for such transportation. They could be unloaded directly into barges from ships at Hull or Goole and transported via these barges to Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester without the need to double handle them at the ports.

    The new Stourton Inland Port would, or could, become and essential part of this transshipment as it can easily be linked to the Container Base that already exists at Stourton. This could take more vehicles of the roads and save money as well as barges could be linked together in something resembling water trains, i.e. many cargo barges being connected to and towed by one powered barge which would incorporate living quarters so that two or three groups of bargees could live on it and work in shifts whilst it traveled between the ports thus allowing the canal train to travel 24 hours a day. It may take a little longer than it currently does to make the same journeys by trucks but that would easily be outweighed by the savings in pollution, fuel costs, congestion (especially at the ports whilst the trucks wait their turn to unload) and some time would be saved by the barges being able to work non stop unlike the trucks which have to stop every 4 hours for a break and can only work for 12 hours maximum before having to stop for the statutory sleep break.

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