FTA welcomes Labour commitment to rail freight

Monday 12 April 2010

The Freight Transport Association has welcomed Labour’s commitment to improving rail freight capacity, should they win the General Election. The commitment, which forms part of the party’s manifesto, echoes FTA’s own manifesto, published last month.

Jo Tanner of FTA said:

“Logistics, whether moving goods by road, rail sea or air, is the lifeblood of UK plc and so it is reassuring – and a pleasant surprise – to see its value being recognised by the Labour Party. Our hope now is that the other parties vying for votes will show similar forethought.”

FTA remains concerned, however, that the high levels of investment required for high speed rail may be driven through to the detriment of vital funding for projects such as the Strategic Freight Network, which needs an ongoing financial commitment from government.

Labour’s vow to tackle road congestion, through managed motorways and hard shoulder running, was also welcomed by FTA, albeit with caveats.

Tanner concluded:

“There is no doubt that extended hard shoulder running and managed motorways will help reduce congestion in the short term. However, intelligent infrastructure investment is needed if we are to meet the ongoing capacity and environmental challenges. A sticking plaster solution will not cure this particular patient.”

Notes for editors

The Strategic Freight Network (SFN) could deliver real benefits for the quality of the UK supply chain and its carbon footprint. Despite there being a clear sign of commitment to rail freight within Labour’s election manifesto, FTA would now like to see a firmer commitment that progress on a high speed passenger project on the proposed scale would be conditional on a maintenance of funding for the SFN at its current levels – ie just in excess of £200 million over five years.


FTA Press Office

01892 552255