The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is disappointed to learn today that the Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) in England, to finance modal shift enabling more goods to be taken off the roads and onto rail or water, is now to be scrapped.
The Department for Transport confirmed to FTA today that the FFG scheme in England for new and existing applicants will close with immediate effect.
Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Global Supply Chain Policy, said:
"Failing to fund modal shift is effectively a failure to invest in a more carbon-efficient, let alone more cost-effective, supply chain. All three major parties at Westminster have previously spoken of a commitment to greener transport choices, with warm words about the importance of rail freight. Sadly, this announcement suggests that warm words is all they were.
"While revenue support grants remain, the loss of the facilities grant will make it less desirable and more cost prohibitive to invest in the sort of machinery and technology, like cranes and other freight handling equipment, needed to make rail and water borne freight a reality for companies currently focusing solely on road freight."
Last week FTA expressed dismay following confirmation from Scottish government that it will continue on its policy of slashing environmental and freight modal shift grants. The decision will make Scotland’s already onerous environmental targets far harder to achieve and could seriously damage the potential for a more efficient supply chain in Scotland.
Meanwhile, Charlie Gordon MSP and Scottish Labour’s transport spokesman has expressed some hope after Parliamentary debate with the finance minister John Swinney that the issue of the Freight Facilities Grant may be looked at again.