The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has set out where it thinks the government should be directing its future transport spending, and how industry-led initiatives can be trusted to achieve greater results.
In a letter to Transport Secretary Philip Hammond, the chief executive officer of the FTA, Theo de Pencier, said: “As economic activity begins to grow so to will levels of congestion and, with it, unreliability.
“Signs indicate that freight activity is on the rise again and we need a transport network that is fit for purpose otherwise the cost to the economy could be enormous: the Eddington Transport Study estimated that increasing congestion in England alone could leave a £25 billion hole in the coffers every year well into the 2020s.
“Equally, industry’s role in delivering a brighter future must not be undervalued.
“From accreditation to best practice delivery, from sensible self-regulation to administering testing and licence issues, there is much that FTA and others could do more cheaply and more efficiently than government.”
The letter went on to identify four principles for future transport spending decisions:
1. Be guided by the Eddington Transport Study – This concluded that improving the performance of the existing network was key. It also highlighted the need to invest where there is an attractive economic return.
2. Recognise the long lead times associated with transport schemes
3. Find new sources of finance – Private finance has already worked for the development of the UK’s deep sea ports, airports and the railway network..
4. Let logistics take the initiative – Three examples of FTA initiatives to improve the supply chain’s environmental and economic performance:
• The Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme – to create a target-based voluntary agreement to reduce CO2 emissions for the UK freight sector.
• Night time deliveries – working with the Noise Abatement Society and DfT to create a local planning framework for quiet deliveries at night.
• Rail freight – FTA’s FastTrack service has been launched to make rail freight more accessible to new entrants onto the market.
Community focus for driver training
Additionally the FTA has launched another new initiative, the Driver CPC Community, to reduce the disruption of mandatory driver training.
Selected FTA members are to host driver training modules delivered by the FTA training team at their own premises. These courses will be attended by their own drivers with additional spaces going to other local companies.