The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has urged the government to reaffirm its commitment to HS2 and ease the collective minds of businesses.
According to a leaked document of the Oakervee Review, it has been recommended that the full HS2 project should continue, despite the admittance that the economic benefits of this ambitious infrastructure project won’t be quite as high as previously predicted.
As the leading voice for the logistics industry, the FTA understands the needs of businesses in the sector and Alex Veitch, Head of Multimodal Policy at the Association, believes HS2 is vital for businesses, with the potential for taking more than 1,000 lorries off the road each day – and that is just the first phase between London and Birmingham.
He said: “FTA and its members are excited about the prospect of HS2 and what it can deliver for the logistics industry.
“With HS2 trains able to carry over 300,000 people per day, the shift in traffic will release capacity on existing rail lines which can be used for freight.
“Allowing more freight to travel by rail will ease congestion on our busy road infrastructure, with HS2 predicting that its first phase alone could free up rail freight capacity equivalent to around 1,500 lorries every day.”
However, for businesses to benefit from the project, the FTA say its members need to “receive fair treatment and access” to the rail lines that will be released thanks to the delivery of HS2.
Alex Veitch concluded: “While there are always strong pressures on government to favour passenger operators, our members need a guarantee that they will receive fair treatment and fair access to capacity released by HS2.”
There is a suspicion from the freight sector that capacity will be pre-allocated to passenger services; instead, these need to be made available for freight operators, which should lead to reduced pollution and congestion.