Copper is bringing its specialist strategic advice and practical support to plans for a new strategic rail freight interchange for the West Midlands, which entered its final statutory consultation stage this month (July).

The West Midlands Interchange (WMI) is being developed by Four Ashes Limited (FAL) in response to the Government’s National Policy Statement (NPS) for National Networks.

It will help create faster, more reliable transport links for growing manufacturing and logistics industries – part of the Government’s ‘Midlands Engine’ strategy – unlocking more global business and investment and creating up to 8,550 new jobs in areas with a particular need.

There are also environmental benefits. According to the Government, tonne for tonne, rail freight produces 70% less CO2 than road freight, up to 15 times less NOX emissions and nearly 10 times less particulates, as well as de-congestion benefits.

Copper’s Managing Director Linda Taylor said: “A strategic rail freight interchange has been identified as essential for the West Midlands in regional development plans and studies for as long as a decade.

“The partners of FAL 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.

“Copper’s skills in narrative and engagement are helping bring the potential benefits for jobs, prosperity and reduced HGV traffic on parts of the region’s road network to life for local communities and regional stakeholders.”

The 297 hectare site at Four Ashes in south Staffordshire is one of very few in the UK with the right road and rail access to allow the largest sized containers. It straddles the West Coast Main Line next to the M6 where it joins the A5.

The public consultation started on Wednesday July 5 and will run until Wednesday August 30.