23 May 2011
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed the appointment of Alex Neil MSP as Minister for Infrastructure and Capital Investment in the Scottish Government. But the leading trade body insists that the Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) must be protected to keep alive Scotland's environmental ambitions and to optimise its economic recovery.
Following pressure from FTA and key industry leaders, including the bosses of The Edrington Group, The Malcolm Group and Russell Logistics the previous Scottish Government, since re-elected, announced a partial retrenchment on its plans for cutting the grant earlier this year. Modal shift is a hugely important issue given the Scottish Government's ambitious climate change targets, and FTA worked hard before the election to secure cross-party accord for protecting the FFG.
Chris MacRae, FTA's Head of Policy for Scotland, said:
"Money is tight, but these grants encourage companies to transfer goods from road to rail; with one train able to remove around 50 lorries from our congested roads, the protection of FFG is vital for Scotland's economy and the environment."
FTA represents over 1,000 companies in Scotland across the supply chain and by all modes of transport. MacRae concluded:
"We look forward to working with Mr Neil to once again press home the need for investment in infrastructure, to stress the importance of optimising efficiency around Scotland's ports and airports, and to ensure our roads are as safe and well managed as possible so as to ensure Scotland's economic connectivity."