Rail offers a carbon dioxide reduction solution to Government
This is an exciting time for rail freight with Government recognition that carbon emissions from freight represent a growing problem.
The scale of the carbon emissions problem facing the Government
Looking at transport in the round, it is responsible for 28% of carbon dioxide emissions in UK1
92% of domestic transport emissions are from road modes.
HGVs alone, which account for around 6% of road traffic miles, are responsible for 22% of all road transport carbon dioxide emissions and 20% of carbon dioxide emissions from all domestic transport
HGV traffic has grown by 20% since 1990 with a the 14% rise in CO2 emissions2
Overall Emissions Challenge
Therefore rail freight can offer a carbon dioxide reduction solution to Government
Tonne for tonne moved, rail produces between three to five times less carbon dioixide3 than road freight (depending on cargo).
Rail can act as a freight by-pass
Rail freight can help ameliorate road congestion which, the FTA estimates, costs the economy £17bn per annum. Remember an average freight train can remove 50 HGVS from our roads and an aggregates train can remove 120 HGVs from our roads4 ”
There is suppressed demand for rail freight
If the rail network were enhanced significant amounts of freight could be transferred to rail. New RFG/FTA demand forecasts show a 30% increase in tonne km from 2006 to 2015 and more than doubling by 2030. However the growth in intermodal traffic is forecast to be very much higher; more than doubling by 2015 and a five fold increase by 2030.
New Tesco service
Following the successful intermodal rail freight services provided by Direct Rail Services to Eddie Stobart and Tesco an additional service between Grangemouth and Inverness has been introduced six days a week.
What’s happening now to allow rail freight to reduce emissions
A series of crucial projects to enhance the routes from the ports to key distribution centres is being implemented as part of the Transport Innovation Funding so that rail can carry more of the large containers (gauge clearance), which are becoming the standard sized international containers. Key projects which have been jointly funded by the Government and business are the routes from the two largest container ports Southampton and Felixstowe and upgrades to Hull and Liverpool Docks.
Increased funding for rail freight projects to get lorries off our congested roads
The Government has increased rail freight grants designed to remove freight from our roads. Newly announced Freight Facilities Grants funding with a total budget of £61m for the three years from 2011-2014 demonstrate the Government’s long-term commitment to both reducing road congestion and carbon dioxide emissions.
These Freight Facility Grants give industry confidence to invest in rail freight, provide long-term certainty that the schemes are ongoing and crucially help offset the initial start-up costs of the transfer to rail.
Strategic (Rail) Freight Network
The DfT July 2007 White Paper ‘Delivering a sustainable railway’ proposed the development of a Strategic Freight Network in England and Wales and allocated £200m towards its development in the Network Rail control period up to 2014.
Third party funding is needed in order for the Strategic Freight Network to be realised so we ask all interested parties to lobby local/regional authorities and business to contribute to these key projects.
What the SRN represents
Rail freight complies with all five Government challenges/goals, ie
Network Rail has co-ordinated the development of the SFN which has been agreed by the industry working party.SFN is designed to complement and be integrated with the existing rail network. It will provide an enhanced core trunk network capable of accommodating more and longer freight trains with a selective ability to handle wagons and with higher axle loads and greater loading gauge.
Key projects identified which will need third party funding contributions
1. Network Rail 2008