Introducing Bow East
Bow East is a new proposal for a single 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 East is the only designated 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 for London’s infrastructure.
Each train of aggregates keeps up to 75 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 movements to an absolute minimum.
The new proposal is more modest in scale with an innovative design that is well-suited to its surroundings. It would be much 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 overall carbon footprint / emissions by using rail to replace road
• Significant reduction in traffic with a voluntary cap on lorry movements
• Restricted operating hours for lorry movements (currently there are none)
• Significant reduction in the area of land used for freight (compared to current activities)
• Increased perimeter screening with tree-planting, walls and fencing
• Installation of storage bays and controls to help maintain air quality
• Land released from freight use for redevelopment through ‘masterplan’ process
The site is currently used to import a significant proportion of London’s aggregates from elsewhere in the UK. Activities take place under ‘permitted development’ rights so no specific planning consent is required. Without a proposal like this one, the site would continue to operate the way it does today.
These proposals will be subject to comprehensive impact assessments, public consultation, planning permission and associated permits.
Which companies are involved?
There are three joint venture partners – Breedon, Brett and S Walsh & Sons. 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 UK to be able 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 land available for other uses.