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Better communication by ORR on new track access charges would save future confusion says FTA

covering commodities such as coal, nuclear fuel and iron ore, but is to delay introduction and at a reduced level. Following strong representations from the industry the ORR has dropped plans to introduce a new freight specific charge for biomass.

This settlement follows months of significant uncertainty as rail freight operators and customers have tried to understand and come to terms with the ORR’s initial proposals that would have added significant and, in some cases, unbearable costs to moving goods by rail and potentially forcing companies that had invested in rail to turn their attention back to the roads.

Chris Welsh, FTA General Manager of Global & European Policy said: "Although we are obviously pleased that ORR has responded to the serious concerns raised by FTA over the impact of the proposed charges, the fact is that there has been a radical shift away from charging marginal costs and towards pricing industries because of their reliance on rail."

Mr Welsh added: "ORR has, to its credit, clearly listened to the warnings made by FTA and the wider rail freight industry in deciding to cap the proposed increases below that originally intended, reducing the impact of the new charging regime. However, the process has caused huge uncertainty and we remain concerned about the longer term effects of the new charging regime with existing and potential new customers. We believe much of the confusion caused by the process could have been avoided through better communication and consultation of the proposed changes."

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