Logistics UK calls for UK government to secure the future of rail freight
Logistics UK has highlighted that the opportunity for freight via released capacity from HS2 is substantial and should be taken advantage of.
The logistics sector’s support of HS2 is conditional on the UK government pledging unequivocal support to grow rail freight, according to Logistics UK. The business group launched a new report on 6 November 2020 into how capacity will be released following the construction of HS2.
Multimodal Policy Manager at Logistics UK, Zoe McLernon, commented: “Logistics UK needs the government to secure the future of rail freight in the UK and provide a cast-iron guarantee that freight services will have sufficient access to the released capacity that HS2 will provide. The conventional rail network is bursting at the seams; there are almost half as many freight trains using the network as there were 15 years ago as passenger services, which continue to grow steadily, take the lion’s share of the network. We are concerned that the process to allocate released capacity may favour passenger operators, because it will be run by the incumbent passenger operator (West Coast Partnership) and there is no guarantee that capacity will be provided for freight.”
“HS2 presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make Britain’s transport network more sustainable, and the opportunity for freight via released capacity from HS2 is substantial. HS2’s development will free-up space on the existing rail network for up to 144 extra freight trains per day, potentially removing 10,944 HGVs from the UK’s congested roads every day. However, there is no policy or legal requirement that a proportion of released capacity must be allocated to freight; Logistics UK urges government to reconsider its principles and provide clear and unequivocal support to grow rail freight,” she added.
The report focuses on how Phases One and 2a of HS2 will release capacity on the West Coast Main Line and proposes ways to enhance the role of freight across the project.