New port to be built in Stourton

Stourton is set to get a new inland port as plans for freight traffic to return to our waterways move forward.

A planning application has been submitted to create two new wharfs on the River Aire at Stourton capable of handling up to 200,000 tonnes a year of bulk cargoes such as gravel, aggregates, steel, timber and shipping containers.

The Canal & River Trust has submitted the application for land off Skelton Grange Road near to Thwaite Mills on land formerly part of the Copperworks site.

Steve Higham, service and outcomes development manager at Canal & River Trust, said:

“With, increasing pressure on our road and rail network, navigations such as the Aire & Calder from Leeds to Goole present fantastic opportunities for cutting the costs and environmental impact of transporting goods.

“This is why we have developed proposals for an inland port in Leeds, with funding and support from West Yorkshire Combined Authority. We believe this facility would pave the way for further development of the inland waterway freight sector across the UK and internationally.”

Alex Veitch, Freight Transport Association lead on water freight and coordinator of Freight by Water, added:

“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 desperately needed for it to reach its full potential.”

The proposal provides for the construction of two wharves and associated goods storage areas, a new vehicular access off Skelton Grange Road with internal turning space and staff welfare and parking facilities.

The planned development will not affect public access along the River Aire corridor as the existing route is located on the opposite side of the Navigation via the Trans Pennine Trail. 
It is unlikely to cause any noise nuisance as the nearest residential property to the site is over a kilometre away.

The River Aire was made navigable up to Leeds as part of the Aire & Calder Navigation and the Hunslet and Knostrop sections date back to 1779. At its peak more than 1.5 million tons of coal per year was transported along it.

You can find full details of the planning application on Leeds City Council’s planning portal here. Comments on the application can be submitted up until Wednesday 16 January 2019.


Photo: Alamy



8 Replies to “New port to be built in Stourton”

  1. It’s about time we made full use of our waterways.
    Looking forward to seeing it…

  2. Good idea, which also links well with rail. Presume the likes of CEMEX will benefit and possibly link with their main sites in Scunthorpe and South Ferriby.

  3. Looking forward to seeing our waterways used in a way that will reduce pollution by HGV,s this can be very cost effective when the city congestion charges start to be implemented, i would love to see commercials again.

  4. Although I like the idea of using the waterways more, it states that there aren’t any residential properties that will be affected. What about the people/families who live on the canal boats near Thwaite mills? Do they not count when it comes to planning applications?

    1. All part n parcel of living on the canals as its what they were made for etc if its such an issue ditch the living on water life for living on land or may be find somewhere else to moor

  5. As a boat owner this is welcome news as it means continued investment in canals and rivers and hopefully go some way to improving the sustainability of the network which has been in a steady decline over recent years , after the closure of the rix terminal I felt sure that the river would gradually silt up but now it’s been freshly dredged as far as crown point and I understand that the gravel and ballast for HS2 will come up by river into town so I feel it’s welcome news for anyone with an interest or involvement in the Aire and Calder navigation and other parts of the network .

  6. This is a very exciting development. The Navigation opened in 1702 and was improved in stages right up to the most recent enlargement which was in 1977 (600 tonne capacity self propelled barges). The peak year for coal on the Aire & Calder was 1913 – 3 million tonnes. I think the peak for the A&CN in total was 5 million tonnes for many years including coal. Post WW2 in addition to the coal to new power stations, oil and petroleum were important cargoes and in later years effluent (in the opposite direction) and aggregates to Knottingley and Leeds (latterly Whitwood).

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