Bow East’s industrial Status

Bow East is a designated rail freight site south of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, bordered by the River Lea, the Greenway outfall sewer and the Great Eastern mainline.

The 9-hectare (22-acre) facility is the only rail-linked site in this part of London where essential construction materials can be delivered by train to where they are needed to support regeneration.

As such it has a special ‘Strategic Industrial Location’ status in law, protecting its use as a rail freight site and restricting its use for other purposes.

Previous proposals to develop the site were met with resistance, so those involved came together to work on an alternative combined concept that recognises its context next to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The new proposal is better suited to this location and is designed to address previous concerns. Without such a proposal the site would probably continue to be used for importing 2 million tonnes of bulk materials each year without the need for planning consent.

Supporting the London Plan

The London Plan sets out ambitious targets for the continued development of the capital.

In every case, from Housing (Chapter 4) to Social Infrastructure (Chapter 5) and Sustainable Infrastructure (Chapter 9), large volumes of construction materials including aggregates and concrete will be required.

The London Plan also states the clear policy to keep essential construction freight off the road and make best use of the rail network to reduce lorry miles, improve air quality and cut congestion on London’s roads (Chapter 10).

Important rail facilities like Bow East are therefore critical to delivering the London Plan in the most sustainable way possible. Our proposed development supports the London Mayor’s strategies for transport, environmental and air quality.

As regeneration continues in the area, Bow East can fulfil its primary function as a materials freight and handling site, whilst releasing the potential for other mixed-use developments on parts of the site.

London’s Demands for Materials

Aggregates are essential for housing and infrastructure, commonly as the main ingredient in concrete.

Virtually every development in this area – including the Olympic Park – is built with aggregates imported into London by road, rail or river.

London’s development requires 10 million tonnes of aggregate each year (27,000 tonnes per day equivalent to six Olympic sized swimming pools ). Around 97% must be brought from outside London (including quarries in the South West & Midlands).

Sustainability: With each train carrying the equivalent of 75 lorry loads, the most efficient and sustainable way to import aggregates is by rail, bringing it as close as possible to where it will be used. This can only happen where the right facilities exist – Bow East is one of those places.

Regeneration requires concrete to come from somewhere. Locating a concrete plant right on a rail depot is the best way to keep lorry movements to an absolute minimum, as there are far fewer road deliveries of raw ingredients.