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Call for evidence on rail freight growth targets

The Rail Minister Wendy Morton has announced the publication of a Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT) led Call for Evidence on a rail freight growth target.

This initial consultation will inform a second phase of work which will then form the basis of GBRTT’s advice to ministers on potential options for setting a target.

The purpose in setting the growth target is to strengthen the position of rail freight on the national network as laid out in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail and Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

The Government committed to introducing a rail freight growth target in both the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, May 2021, and the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, July 2021.

In addition to ensuring rail freight is embedded in the new 30-year strategy, the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail said “Government will set a growth target for rail freight, as has been done in Scotland, but this should not become a ceiling. This will strengthen the place of rail freight on the national network and create new opportunities for growth and investment, giving confidence to the sector’s customers and investors.”

The Department for Transport (DfT) has commissioned GBR TT to gather information to inform options on a rail freight growth target in two phases.

Stage One includes a consultation with industry, and interested parties, in mid-2022 to help inform GBR TT in formulating and developing options for a growth target which will then be considered by the Secretary of State.

Stage Two will include a summary report and development of multiple growth target options for Ministers to consider. We expect GBR TT to provide this advice by end of 2022.

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