The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has today welcomed support for the Strategic Freight Network by an influential Parliamentary committee. The House of Commons Transport Select Committee report on rail funding, released today (Monday 15 February), echoes the evidence given by FTA in which continuing funding of the Strategic Freight Network (SFN) at or above current levels was seen as essential.
In its evidence to the Committee, FTA, which represents companies using and operating road, rail, sea and air freight services, demonstrated the benefits, both economic and environmental, of rail freight.
Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Global Supply Chain Policy, said:
"We are delighted that the Committee has listened to the voice of industry and has put its considerable weight behind a commitment to the future of rail freight. FTA’s unique position as the only multi-modal trade association allows us to look at the benefits of rail freight in an impartial way, recognising the benefits to the economy, to individual businesses and, of course, to the environment, of a truly integrated UK rail network."
Rail freight already plays an important role in moving bulk goods, such as aggregates and coal. However, its growing reputation as a reliable way to move manufactured goods while massively reducing carbon emissions and transport costs has made it the transport mode of choice for a growing number of businesses and retailers. Industry forecasts predict a doubling of rail freight activity by 2030, from 23.5bn tonne km to over 50bn if improvement of the infrastructure continues.
"Better rail freight capability is a pre-requisite for meeting the country’s growing need for moving goods sustainably in the UK. We strongly urge whoever wins the General Election to take the recommendations of the Committee on board and commit to supporting the SFN in the next Parliament."