The secretary of state has rubber-stamped controversial plans for a rail freight terminal near Radlett.

Eric Pickles announced this morning that the project will go ahead, despite objections from residents, politicians and councils.

St Albans’ MP Anne Main has voiced her disappointment at the news, describing it as a "mindless act of vandalism".

She said: "I am devastated on behalf of constituents who fought long and hard against this mindless act of vandalism. When the minister discussed this with me I made it clear how angry I was and I find the decision incomprehensible.

"I cannot see what has changed since the previous refusals and I shall continue to explore the reasoning behind this change of direction.

"The minister accepted that the decision would be met with much unhappiness in my constituency and I made it quite clear that this would blight many people’s lives in the area if it went ahead.

"There are still legal avenues open to challenge this, and this may be a route people want to take.

"Consequently rather than say anything to prejudice any potential challenge to the decision, at the moment I am taking time to reflect on the judgement, regroup and see what is the best we can do for St Albans.

"Whatever the eventual outcome I intend to continue to explore how this decision has suddenly come about; there are many questions about the process. I think it is disgraceful sneaking out this decision just before Christmas.

"This is the worst kind of Christmas present my constituents could have received."