The DfT recently announced that the Freight Facilities Grant, which helped finance modal shift from road to rail has been scrapped with immediate effect in England and Wales.
However, the Scottish Government has said that its FFG scheme is being retained and that they have made a £2m provision for it in the next budget, ensuring that the FFG remains open for the next financial year.
In England and Wales £10m of FFG funding was available during 2010/11 to help assist transport firms in providing the necessary infrastructure for the modal shift.
Commenting on the Scottish Government’s decision to reinstate the Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) scheme in the final Scottish Budget, Colin Howden, Director of Transform Scotland said:
“We’re pleased to see that the Government has seen sense and reinstated this critical rail freight fund. Scrapping the FFG would have gone against the Scottish Government’s aim of shifting freight from road to rail and sea.
“The Government also has strenuous targets to meet on climate change.
Rail freight is three times more energy-efficient than road haulage, and there are clear carbon benefits from ongoing investment in rail freight across Scotland.”
Rail Freight Group’s Scottish Representative, David Spaven, commented:
“This is a great decision, and is tribute to the cross-party support for retaining an unsung but very successful scheme. I would like to give thanks to the Scottish Government and to all others involved, including the Parliament’s Transport, Infrastructure & Climate Change Committee, and to Cathy Jamieson MSP for leading the helpful debate on FFG in Parliament on 13th January.
“Keeping Freight Facilities Grants will allow new rail schemes to take tens of thousands of heavy lorries off Scottish roads every year. It will mean not only relief for communities the length and breadth of Scotland – including the Highlands, Perthshire, Fife, Lanarkshire and South Ayrshire – but also support for economic development through providing a safe, sustainable and resilient alternative to road haulage.”