Introducing Bow East

Bow East is a proposal for a ready-mixed concrete plant on rail freight land south of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This would be an improvement on what’s there today and would make space for alternative developments.

Bow Goods Yard East, just off Marshgate Lane, is the only safeguarded rail freight terminal in central east London. It is identified as a ‘Strategic Industrial Location’ (SIL) in the London Plan, protected because of its importance in supplying materials by train for London’s infrastructure.

Each train of aggregates – the main ingredient in concrete – keeps up to 76 lorries off the road, so delivering materials by rail means a much lower carbon footprint with vehicle movements massively reduced. Locating a concrete plant at a rail depot is the best way to keep lorry miles to an absolute minimum.

The new proposal is more modest than previous proposals with an innovative design that is well-suited to its surroundings. It would be cleaner and smarter than what is on the site today. This would be achieved with a single concrete plant in the southern corner of the land. Key aspects of the proposal include:

• Significant reduction in emissions by using rail to replace road freight
• Significant reduction in traffic with a voluntary cap on lorry movements
• Restricted operating hours for lorry movements (currently there are none)
• Massive reduction in the area of land used for materials
• Increased perimeter screening with tree-planting, landscaping walls and fencing
• Installation of covered storage bays and tight controls on air quality
• Land released from freight use for redevelopment through ‘masterplan’ process

The site is already used to import a significant proportion of London’s total demand for aggregates from elsewhere in the UK. These materials are being used in regeneration across East London. Current activities take place under ‘permitted development’ rights so no specific planning consent is required. Without our proposal for a concrete plant, the site would probably continue to operate the way it does today.

Our proposals are subject to comprehensive environmental assessments, ongoing public consultation, planning permission and associated permits.

Each train replaces up to 76 lorries delivering materials

Rail freight creates 76% less CO2 on average than road equivalent

Releases land along The Greenway for other developments

Which companies are involved?

There are three joint venture partners making the proposal for a new concrete plant – Breedon, Brett and GRS. The joint venture is not responsible for current activities on the site.

Network Rail is the owner of the land at Bow East. DB Cargo is the current operator of Bow East. The three joint venture partners are working with Network Rail and DB Cargo to propose a solution at Bow East that balances its designation as a freight site for construction materials while creating something which is in keeping with its surroundings and makes some land available for other uses.