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Rail Freight Terminal Approved
Plans for a new rail freight terminal in North Lanarkshire have been approved in principle by Scottish ministers.
PD Stirling (PDS), which operates the existing Mossend Railhead in Bellshill, plans to expand by creating the Mossend International Railfreight Park (MIRP).
It said the park would boost rail link capacity to UK and European markets.
PDS said the development had the potential to deliver 4,900 new jobs during the construction and operational phases.
MIRP will include warehousing and manufacturing space near the terminal.
It will also feature distribution, service and logistics facilities, allowing occupiers to load directly to and from trains.
Scottish ministers considered the project after North Lanarkshire Council last year refused to grant permission for the scheme after receiving objections from local residents.
David Stirling, from PDS Ltd, said: "We're delighted with the decision as it will open up new opportunities for rail freight and sustainable low-carbon logistics in Scotland.
"MIRP will create a major new rail freight facility and help to secure new investment and economic activity both in Lanarkshire and across Scotland.
"MIRP will be able to compete favourably on cost with road transport, extend choice and support the sustainable movement of goods to and from Scotland."
He added: "We recognise that there has been some local concern but are looking forward to working with residents to put in place locally-supported management for the proposed community woodland which will include walkways, woodlands and cycle routes."
A Scottish government spokesman said: "Having carefully considered the reporter's report and the issues raised in objections, Scottish ministers have decided to grant planning permission in principle for the expansion of the Mossend Railhead, incorporating industrial and business uses, a Community Green Network and related transport improvements.
"National Planning Framework 3 (NPF3) and Scottish Planning Policy support modal shift of freight transport from road to rail.
"Mossend, along with Coatbridge and Grangemouth, is identified as an important interchange in the central belt.
"Ministers welcome the potential economic benefits of the proposal as well as the opportunity to enhance transport and green infrastructure in the local area.
"The decision letter sets out in full the grounds for the decision and ministers cannot comment further on their decision."
A spokeswoman for North Lanarkshire Council said: "We have received notice of the appeal decision, and are reviewing the implications before deciding on our next course of action."