FTA sets out roadmap for transport spend

Monday 06 September 2010

The Freight Transport Association has put the case for continued investment in key transport infrastructure projects to the government ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), due to be published on the 20 October. The leading trade body has identified a series of road and rail schemes that must be spared the axe in the interests of maintaining the UK’s economic recovery and ensuring future international competitiveness.

FTA has forcibly argued that a transport network that is fit for purpose is a pre-requisite for any successful economy, with road and rail infrastructure linking people to jobs and products to markets.

Theo de Pencier, FTA’s CEO, said:

“FTA has already made it very clear that cutting capital spending on infrastructure would be a huge mistake, especially for an economy still struggling to free itself from the grip of recession.

“As the fate of key road and rail projects hangs in the balance we must make it clear that any short-term savings made by curtailing investment have to be weighed against the longer term costs of increased congestion and unreliability in the supply chain – a matter made more pressing by expected rises in traffic levels.”

Congestion represents a huge cost to the economy. And by 2025 it could cost freight and other road users in England alone £25 billion more per year than it did in 2003, according to the Eddington Transport Study. The need for targeted investment in new infrastructure capacity and the development of technology to get the best out of the existing network is, therefore, self-evident.

National transport corridors in greatest need of investment:

London to Kent Ports Corridor (M20)
South Coast Ports to the Midlands (A34, M40)
London Orbital Corridor (M25)
London to the West Midlands, North West and Scotland Corridor (M1, M6)
Trans-Pennine (M62, M180)
Haven Ports to Midlands (A14)

London to Kent Ports Corridor
South Coast Ports to the Midlands
London Orbital Corridor (cross London routes)
London to the West Midlands, North West and Scotland Corridor (West Coast Main Line)
London to the East Midlands, Yorkshire, North East and Scotland Corridor (East Coast Main Line)
London to Thames Gateway Ports Corridor

de Pencier concluded:

“Worryingly, those road and rail corridors that are likely to become congestion ‘hotspots’ due to greater freight growth over the next decade are already under the greatest strain - the need to make early headway on existing investment plans is obvious.

“The public purse is understandably being tightly held, but the Government must not be constrained by previously held dogma in funding its spending priorities. However they are funded, FTA believes that the projects identified in the submission are simply too important to forsake.”

Notes for editors

1. On 11 October, FTA will meet with Transport Secretary Philip Hammond to discuss the value of infrastructure investment and how the deployment of existing industry-driven initiatives would be in the best interests of UK PLC. FTA’s detailed CSR Submission will help form the basis of this discussion.

2. FTA has commissioned MDS Transmodal, an independent strategic freight consultancy, to help establish those priority projects based on revised demand forecasts and new baseline data for 2009/10.

3. FTA has advocated four key principles that the CSR must follow:

Be guided by the Eddington Transport Study – Published in December 2006 it concluded that there is a key challenge to improve the performance of the existing network. It also highlighted the need to invest where there is an attractive economic return.

Recognise the long lead times associated with transport schemes – Multimodal freight activity is slow to rise, but rise it will and it is therefore essential to maintain the current momentum of transport infrastructure improvements.

Find new sources of finance – The use of private money has worked well overall in the commercial development of the UK’s deep sea port infrastructure, airports and, of course, in funding the railway network through Network Rail. If government cannot find the public finance to make progress on improving transport infrastructure in the medium term, the role of private funding must be considered

Let logistics take the initiative


For a copy of FTA’s Comprehensive Spending Review Submission contact lnorthfield@fta.co.uk


FTA Press Office

01892 552255