The injection of £25 million funding for Scotland’s rail freight industry will provide a “much needed” boost to rail infrastructure.
Those are the thoughts of the Freight Transport Association (FTA), an organisation that represents the interests of the logistics sector.
Its Head of Policy for Scotland & Northern Ireland is Margaret Simpson. She said the FTA is “thrilled” at the news that the government will be allocating this investment to strengthen rail freight in Scotland.
She said that wise use of this funding, aligned with working closely with the industry, will boost rail infrastructure.
“If used wisely, the funding will unlock capacity and capabilities, providing a much needed boost to the country’s rail infrastructure.
“We are also pleased the government has chosen to work closely with esteemed industry partners; a promising sign that the investment will be spent where it is needed most.
“FTA is calling on both the government and the industry partners to recognise how different sectors, for example bulk freight, could benefit from the funding to make rail a more available option of businesses of varying shapes and sizes.
“While FTA supports the government’s ambition to increase rail use, it is important it realises that rail is not the most appropriate mode for all.
“Road will undoubtedly remain the prominent mode of freight transport, but where it possible, the use of rail should be encouraged to help to reduce road congestion and emissions.”
That final point is pertinent, given the issues surrounding the threat of pollution on the roads in Britain.
The Scottish government’s investment – through securing ring-fenced funds that guarantee the money will be spent on freight – will be vital in strengthening the industry in the next five years.
Network Rail and the Scottish government will work closely to ensure sustainable economic growth across the country, as well as the introduction of services that will reduce pollution.