Ravenscraig freight hub proposals “coming off the rails”



  • Ravenscraig freight hub proposals “coming off the rails” say’s action group.

  • North Lanarkshire Council Planners set to recommend refusal at national development site.

  • Russell Group urged to “give up the ghost.”

  • Councillors to signal the end of the line.

  • Planning recommendation follows a near 18-month David and Goliath battle backed by SNP, Scottish Labour and Scottish Greens.

  • “Lanarkshire deserves better” as group calls for a new vision and multi-agency taskforce for former steelworks site.

The proposal, on a 55-hectare site (the size of 88 football pitches) zoned for new and affordable housing, looks likely to be rejected as North Lanarkshire Council Planners are set to recommend refusal at the site deemed as nationally significant in the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework.

The news that the proposal will be recommended for refusal comes after a near 18-month David and Goliath battle by the action group, SNP, Scottish Labour and Scottish Green politicians against proposals by Russell Group to develop a 24-hour rail terminal and distribution centre.  Over 620 objections have, to date, been registered, with local, regional and national media highlighting the campaign.

With a recommendation for refusal, Russell Group have been urged to “give up the ghost” and withdraw the application whilst local residents, schools, and communities have been urged to contact their councillors, urging them to vote against the application.  The application is set to go before North Lanarkshire’s Planning Hearings Committee then Full Council in due course.

Ryan O’Donnell, Chair of the Ravenscraig Community Action Group, said:

“The strong and clear recommendation to refuse is a hugely significant milestone. For nearly a year and a half, local communities, SNP, Scottish Labour and Scottish Green politicians have fought a David and Goliath battle on a wholly inappropriately sited dirty diesel freight proposal.  The plans would see a monolithic industrial complex and an 800 HGV movements a day super-highway in phase one alone which would rip through the heart of Motherwell and surrounding areas, depriving us of much needed new and affordable housing and scarring the Lanarkshire landscape for generations.

“It’s time now for Russell Group to give up the ghost on plans which are universally opposed by communities, councillors, and MSPs.”

Local teacher and mum, Fiona Morrison, added:

“Families across Lanarkshire were promised a new, sustainable community at Ravenscraig, not a relic of its dirty, industrial past.  Lanarkshire deserves better, a new vision and a new multi-agency task-force for Ravenscraig.  We’ve received strong support from across the political spectrum, with Councillor Kenny Duffy fighting to ensure our voices could be heard.  But the battle isn’t yet won and with the application still to go before the council, its time for residents, schools and communities to contact their councillors, calling on them to signal the end of the line for this unwanted proposal.”

Clare Adamson, SNP MSP for Motherwell & Wishaw, branded the plans a far-cry from the vision for Ravenscraig:

“This is a far-cry from the vision that was sold to residents and this development is a marked and irreversible departure from the Ravenscraig Masterplan.  Whilst a matter for the council, the proximity to the recently approved new primary school, the regional sports centre and the adjacent new public park is of real concern.”

Scottish Labour’s Monica Lennon MSP, blasted the proposals, saying: 

“Motherwell, Wishaw and surrounding communities deserve better than an industrial monster blighting one of Scotland’s most iconic regeneration sites.  The recommendation to refuse should send a clear message to Russell Group and to Ravenscraig Limited that these plans are totally unsuitable for this site. I’ll continue to stand with local people and the Ravenscraig Community Action Group to demand a better future for Ravenscraig, Motherwell and Wishaw, including supporting calls for a multi-agency task force to work with communities on a shared vision for the site.”

Marion Fellows, SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, added:

“The local community have opposed these plans from the start and it’s obvious that this development would have a hugely negative impact on local people in multiple ways – especially traffic, noise and air pollution. Any proposals to develop this site must not be railroaded through against the communities wishes.  Investment and jobs in the area are obviously welcome. But that doesn’t mean it should come at any cost.”

Slamming the “white elephant proposal”, Scottish Green Party MSP, Gillian MacKay, added:

“The recommendation by council planners for refusal is positive but this battle is far from over.

“I’ve said previously that this white elephant proposal would change the character of Motherwell forever and it is not the vision that residents were sold for their community. The developers have been talking green but acting dirty and Lanarkshire deserves better!

“The determination and hard work from the Ravenscraig Action Group has been remarkable but now more than ever we need local residents to put pressure on their elected representatives. The message must be clear, the Russell Group must call an end to these unwanted development once and for all.”

Councillor Kenny Duffy, Convener of Transformation at North Lanarkshire Council, said:

“This major development has been a source of great speculation within the Ravenscraig community. The Ravenscraig Community Action Group in particular will no doubt be heartened that the recommendation from planners will be for refusal but in line with rules governing elected members I will not be expressing my opinion on this development until I have had the opportunity to vote.

“I will continue to work with council officials to get as much information as I can for local residents and will listen to all voices on this issue – including RCAG – ahead of any vote.”


  • Proposals incompatible with Development Plan, Local Plan, National Planning Frameworks 3 & 4, and the Ravenscraig masterplan.
  • The character of a new area changed – forever.
  • 1,000 new build and affordable 2, 3 and 4 bedroom houses for local families – denied.
  • £1.9m of annual council tax lost – enough to fund 72 new teachers; 80 home care workers; re-open Kilbowie and restore Christmas lights.
  • Pollution free new primary schools with safe routes to school – impossible.
  • 1,000 new homes with local spend in local stores – lost.
  • 800 dirty diesel HGV lorry movements every day (1 every 100 seconds) trundling past our homes in phase one alone.
  • Incompatible with Scotland’s recently adopted UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Displacing existing North Lanarkshire jobs and competing against existing rail freight sites.
  • More sustainable sites for rail freight that don’t block Ravenscraig regeneration – available. 
  • Noise, light and air pollution, not to mention commercial vehicles resting up on local streets.
  • Huge local environmental, biodiversity, ecological impact & loss of ancient woodland.
  • Years of construction from 8am – 7pm.
  • Some say it’s a deal done behind closed doors. 
  • It doesn’t have to be that way.  
  • A Scottish Government ‘National Development’ Regeneration Priority.
  • Plans opposed by SNP, Scottish Labour and Scottish Greens.
  • Lets access the £50m Vacant & Derelict Land Fund, not leave regeneration to a flawed freightliner solution that blights Ravenscraig and blocks out more sustainable investment solutions.
  • It’s time for the new community Lanarkshire was promised, building back better from the pandemic, not massive industrial buildings at any cost to communities.
  • Register your objections (individually – one per person) now by emailing esplanning@northlan.gov.uk or online athttps://eplanning.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=QP2RMGBAMWL00&activeTab=summary&fbclid=IwAR17vA7ZoPJWLsPw6SHhMkBjzeE-1383Z8HcZDBinjFkRD0Q4Q7riIsgeUs
  • Contact your councillors.

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