Rail Freight Group (RFG) today (17 April 2019) welcomed the National Infrastructure Commission’s Freight Study final report, which has made important recommendations on the future of freight.
The Commission’s report has three main conclusions, namely that surface freight can and must be decarbonised by 2050, that there must be better land use planning for freight, and that Government and the industry must work together to create a ‘new status for freight’, raising awareness of freight within Government departments.
The report concludes that it will be possible to decarbonise rail freight by 2050, but that the industry cannot be expected to deliver this without intervention from Government. It recommends that a full strategy should be published showing how rail freight can reach zero emissions by 2050, detailing the investments and/or subsidies that Government will provide.
A new ‘Freight Leadership Council’ is also recommended, to bring together Government departments and industry representatives to oversee the delivery of the report recommendations as well as bringing a renewed focus to freight within Government.
Maggie Simpson, RFG Director General said: “We are pleased that the Commission has set out a pathway for Government support in decarbonisation of rail freight. With battery and hydrogen technologies in their infancy on the rail network, and the extent of electrification still limited, the industry cannot be expected to deliver the necessary investment without the backing of Government. This recommendation gives a way forward to provide the certainty that the rail freight sector needs, and a framework to oversee delivery.”