New cargo-carrying barge link connects Yorkshire cities

Credit: Maik Brown

The Commercial Boat Operators Association (CBOA) has confirmed the launch of a new link to transport marine dredged aggregates by barge from Hull to Leeds.

A 500 tonnes capacity barge arrived at Knostrop, east Leeds, yesterday.

The link started with a Leeds City Council’s minerals planning policy decision to safeguard from unsuitable developments a number of wharves in the city, including ones at Knostrop and at Stourton so they could be used to unload aggregates and other cargoes.

Behind this lay a wish to see more use of marine dredged aggregates in Leeds and West Yorkshire, rather than from inland quarries.

The use of 500 tonne capacity barges, which avoid using heavy vehicles from inland quarries, will be beneficial for the environment.

Each barge will take off the M62 18 articulated lorries carrying 28 tonnes. And barges emit 75% less CO2 than heavy lorries.

It is expected that with increased construction activity in Leeds and elsewhere in West Yorkshire, this is an ideal time to use barges to bring aggregates and other construction materials into Leeds.

CBOA chairman David Lowe said: “We have worked hard with Leeds City Council planners to create the basis for increased use by barges of the waterways of Leeds and the surrounding area.

“Today is the realisation of many years’ efforts. We are delighted that the use of barges creates the opportunity to reduce air pollution in Leeds by negating the need for HGVs and improve the well-being of its citizens.

“The proposed inland Port of Leeds at Stourton will increase the opportunities for more barge use.”

Andy Collins of AC Marine Aggregates, the company whose aggregates have been brought to Leeds, said: “The use of barges from Hull means we can enter a new market for us – the area around Leeds and into West Yorkshire.

“We have been bringing sea dredged aggregates into Hull for some years to serve the local markets.

“We are grateful to the CBOA and their member firms for enabling us to turn into a reality our hopes to improve the environment by using ‘green’ transport and extending the use of aggregates from a sustainable source.”

The area being used at Knostrop is about one-tenth of an acre and is seen as a temporary phase.

The Canal & River Trust’s wider ambitions are to see the development of a 10-acre site at Stourton on the outskirts of east Leeds.

Full planning permission has been obtained and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have offered £3.17m towards the costs.

The trust is now seeking the balance of the funds required. The business plan is based on moving 200,000 tonnes a year of marine aggregates – the equivalent of eight barges a week.