Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rail Freight Group Calls for Reform of UKs Transport Policy

Climate Quotas Easier With Rail Not Road Haulage
Shipping News Feature

The Rail Freight Group (RFG), the organisation that represents the interests of the UK’s rail haulage industry, has called upon the British government to make a commitment to changing current transport policy from road to rail freight a key part in the UK’s proposed plans to cut CO2 in the upcoming Copenhagen climate talks.

The RFG states that with the UK talking about cutting CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020, with a further stated commitiment to cut such emissions by 80% by 2050, the freight industry must play a key part in this elimination.

The best way, according to the RFG, is to rapidly change the UK’s haulage structure from a road-based one to a rail-centric design. The RFG states that switching freight from road to rail saves 70% of the carbon emissions from freight, which it estimates could by 2030 save 4.6 million tonnes of CO2 in the UK if current rail freight tonnages were to double.

In a statement the organisation said that: “Encouraging modal shift from road to rail is an easy and quick way to secure significant reductions in transport carbon emissions. But for rail freight to thrive it must receive strong political support and the necessary investment to ensure it can offer an efficient and competitive alternative to road.

“UK and EU Governments must take action to promote rail freight and encourage growth as an alternative to road.”

The RFG’s Chairman, Tony Berkeley, said: ‘NGOs, Governments and the European Commission must include sustainable rail freight in the agenda for the forthcoming climate change discussions leading up to Copenhagen and thereafter.

‘Rail freight needs support, encouragement and liberalisation and can then deliver the carbon reductions and other environmental benefits which are not attainable by road freight.

‘A saving of 4.6m tonnes of CO2 a year is surely worth having, and is probably more easily achieved that any other option.’