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Modal councils tackle the big issues
FTA’s modal councils – road, air, water and rail – follow the 13 regional Freight Councils that take place quarterly across the UK. While the regional Freight Councils often share a largely common agenda, they also offer the opportunity to discuss local issues that are important to FTA members. These feed into the modal councils, which are the democratic bodies of FTA that determine FTA’s policy position.
FTA’s Road Council assembled in a new room at One Great George Street in Westminster on 6 February. While smaller, the new venue fostered engagement from all members present and removed the need to use microphones. Council also welcomed Allison Kemp as its new Chair.
The first agenda item was smart motorways. Chris Yarsley, FTA’s Head of Road Network Management Policy, gave background on the development of smart motorways, originally signed off by then transport minister Sir Mike Penning. The consensus among members was that although smart motorways have been proved to increase the reliability of journey times, many stretches are not as ‘smart’ as was originally promised. FTA will continue to support smart motorways in principle as long as they are safe.
Next, David Wells, FTA’s Chief Executive, briefed members on the forthcoming change of name from FTA to Logistics UK. He said that FTA’s current name did not make it immediately apparent to the media or government which industry it represented. “We want to have a bigger influence with stakeholders,” he said, “And we want to achieve more for our members.”
James Firth, Secretary of the Road Council, considered matters arising including the 10-year tyre ban proposal, which appears to have been paused. He then delivered his Secretary’s report which touched on the Direct Vision Standard Safety Permit scheme, which is now open for applications, and the reported failures of company tachograph cards if more than 62 are issued to one operator.
Elizabeth de Jong, FTA’s Director of Policy, gave members an update on the new government’s transport agenda and Brexit’s expected impact on freight operations. While stressing that FTA is a non-political organisation, she said, “The clear majority achieved by the government means Brexit can be done and other policy areas can be progressed.”
This was followed by an outline of the changes that the EU mobility package will bring by Sarah Laouadi, FTA’s European Policy Manager, and how it will affect UK operators from this summer.
The final agenda item concentrated on Driver CPC training standards, following an FTA delegation meeting with DVSA which examined training documents. Council concluded that there was no great appetite for an Earned Recognition-type approach when it came to Driver CPC provision.The next meeting of the Road Freight Council will take place on Tuesday 5 May 2020.
The FTA water, rail and air councils also met in the first quarter with high numbers of attendees and excellent policy debates.
The Air Council ran a special roundtable seminar on sustainability in the air cargo sector. Commissioner Colin Noble, of the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, was welcomed back. He was joined by two senior DfT officials to discuss the government’s approach to environment regulation in air transport. Our partner associations Airlines UK and the Airport Operators Association presented the steps that industry is taking to meet environmental challenges. The session ended with conclusions on how industry and government can work together constructively to grow markets while protecting the environment.
Water Council focused on Freeports, an issue thrust into the spotlight recently with the new government keen to promote them as a means to boost regional economic growth and international trade. We also asked for member feedback on our Brexit work, checking with members whether there is anything more we should be doing to support the maritime sector. Finally, we covered updates including the latest news on the waterborne freight grant and the protection of water freight facilities in London.
Rail Council focused once gain on HS2. With the government giving the green light to the project, the challenge now is to ensure that the project delivers for freight by releasing capacity on the conventional rail network. There was also a session on how FTA is campaigning for rail freight with MPs and the media to win support for specific infrastructure projects, and our joint campaign with industry partners to secure government funding for electrification ‘quick wins’ to support decarbonisation.
Published On: 02/03/2020 10:29:40