Lords back rail freight liberalisation

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The House of Lords European Committee has produced a report calling for full liberalisation of the rail freight market and urging the European Commission to take action against member states that have failed to implement legislation from 2001 designed to open up the market.

The report’s recommendations include: full separation of infrastructure manager from train operators, effective independent regulation with requirements for cross-border co-operation, mandatory rules and multi-annual contracts for infrastructure managers, full open access to sidings and facilities with a regulatory appeal mechanism.

Rail Freight Group chairman Tony Berkeley, who gave evidence to the committee, said: “The committee’s report, based on a wide range of evidence from those involved in international rail freight, must add pressure on the European Commission to progress much faster to complete the process of creating a single market for rail freight across Europe.’

Specifically, the report says the European Commission must move forward urgently on the infractions proceedings against those member states who are still not complying with the First Railway Package, which dates from 2001.

The Rail Freight Group is also calling on the UK Government, whose evidence largely supports the findings of the Committee, to press hard for the faster progress on these issues.

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