Published: 10 January, 2013
by DAN CARRIER
THE company behind the redevelopment of King’s Cross railway lands could be dragged to the High Court over its decision to use heavy lorries to transport materials to and from its building sites.
The King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership will be challenged over its plans for the plot known as Gas Holder Number Eight.
The Regent’s Network, a group of canal enthusiasts, wants the waterway which runs through the site to be used to bring in building materials.
Network secretary Del Brenner is behind a plan for a judicial review, currently being logged at the High Court. He said research showed the work will need about 1,163 journeys by 18.5 tonne lorries.
Mr Brenner said: “They should use the canal. The costs will not be outrageously different but the benefits will be enormous.
“They are actually obliged by law to do it. Government guidelines say they must take as much off the road and use rail or water. It is right beside the canal and it would take around 120 barge loads to move the spoil.”
He added: “Lorries cause air pollution – the children of Somers Town get asthma. They wear out the roads. They are dangerous – we’ve had a series of fatal accidents over the years.
“It ruins the quality of life to have heavy lorries constantly rumbling through our streets. The canal is a brilliant asset that could be used more.”
His views have been echoed by Richard Rutter, head of enterprise at the Canal and River Trust, which manages the waterway. He said: “You can’t impose unrealistic targets on developers but there are hidden costs of moving materials by road. We would like the developers to look again at using the canal.”
But a spokesman for the developer said it was sticking to guidelines laid out in 2006 when outline planning permission was granted for the site.
He said: “We have looked at using the canal for construction freight many times and it has not stacked up. Not least because it tends to involve double handling and a road leg, anyway, to the ultimate destination.
“We do not consider canal freight to be a realistic option for these works, which have been procured contractually and are ready to go.”