A NEW report published by the Rail Freight Group today is outlining how an ‘ambitious growth strategy’ for rail freight over the next ten years could be worth between £75 billion and £90 billion in environmental and economic benefits.
The study has been carried out by Stephen Joseph Associates, whose director was the chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, previously Transport 2000, for 30 years until 2018. Stephen Joseph is also visiting professor at the University of Hertfordshire’s Smart Mobility Research Unit.
The study calls for a ‘new approach’ from national and local government, as well as new investment from the industry. The conclusion is that this ‘could unlock growth significantly in excess of current projections’.
Some of the detailed proposals include increased and greater investment in the Strategic Freight Network, electrification of core routes, new rail linked terminals alongside reforms to planning laws, increased grants and new high speed freight services to city centres. Road pricing could also be used to encourage a shift from road to rail.
The group’s director general Maggie Simpson said: ‘With renewed focus on the environment, and with new trade opportunities on the horizon, there has never been a better time to invest in rail freight. This report shows how a strategic and targeted programme from Government could encourage new private investment and unlock very significant benefits for the country.’