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High Speed 2 must not distract from freight’s needs, warns FTA

With a government announcement on High Speed 2 (HS2) expected this week, the Freight Transport Association is anxious that potential passenger benefits are not gained at the expense of freight.

Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of Supply Chain Policy, said:
"For investment in infrastructure to provide best value it must give sufficient weight to the needs of those that move goods, not just passengers. While HS2 will yield only some indirect benefit to freight it most certainly shouldn’t be introduced at its expense, whether in terms of diverting funding away from other areas or by jeopardising existing freight paths.

"Rail freight demands a fair share of any capacity created by HS2 on the existing network. We must try to support what is not just a growing market, but one without which the UK’s emissions reduction targets would begin to look a lot less achievable."

A Command Paper setting out the new rules for rail franchises and a formal consultation on the restructuring of Network Rail is expected in February, bringing with it even greater implications for rail freight users.

Snelling concluded:
"The much vaunted move to vertical integration of rail services should not be allowed to subjugate rail freight’s needs. Equally, the move towards regionalisation potentially poses a significant threat to freight services which tend to be organised on a national rather than a regional basis."

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