The Rail Freight Group has called on the Scottish Parliament to recognise the strategic economic benefits of investing in rail freight.
It warns that planned spending on the new Scottish Futures Fund in 2012-13 provides for only £6.5m to cover freight modal shift from road haulage to rail and sea freight ¬ along with “warm homes”, low carbon vehicle development, and walking and cycling initiatives.
In a letter to the Infrastructure & Capital Investment Committee of the parliament, the RFG urges it to press the Scottish government to put freight modal shift grants “on a properly-funded budgetary basis over a sustained period of time”.
RFG Scottish representative David Spaven said: “Freight modal shift offers strong benefits in terms of economic development policy – providing a resilient alternative to total dependence on road haulage, a transport mode which is more vulnerable than rail to longer-term oil price and security trends.
“Greater availability of rail freight facilities and services allows shippers of freight (manufacturers, processors, retail groups etc.) to benefit from a choice of modes of transport.”