Rail freight

Report calls on Government to back rail freight in West Midlands

A new report calls on the Government to back lower-carbon rail freight to help create a greener construction supply chain in the West Midlands.

Rail users and operators have published the report which ask Government to look at the ways freight can help build a sustainable future.

The Minerals Product Association (MPA) and the Rail Freight Group (RFG) published the report documenting the benefits of moving materials by train.

Mineral products companies transport around 20 million tonnes of aggregates by rail and the report explains there is potential to do more with Government support.

Rail freight produces 76% less CO2 emissions and a fraction of the particulates compared to the equivalent road journeys.

The mineral products sector has invested millions of pounds in nee rail sites and improvements to their operations in the West Midlands.

This investment has resulted in a 50% increase in rail freight over the past decade and a reduction in HGV journeys.

The rail freight sector is calling on the Government to back its commitments by recognising the role rail can play in reducing emissions.

Robert McIlveen, MPA Director of Public Affairs spoke on the role of freight in reducing carbon emissions.

Mr McIlveen said: “The mineral products industry is the largest user of rail freight in terms of ‘tonnes carried’.

“The Government needs to recognise that these materials are vital to delivering the vision of building back better.

“MPA members are keen to use more rail freight because of all of its strengths, in particular on carbon emissions, transport efficiency and reduced road congestion.

“With the new capacity released by HS2 later this decade, if we can make it easier to connect there is lots of growth potential.”

Operators are also asking for freight to become a higher priority with greater flexibility in the timetable.

RFG commented on the need for freight to play its role in helping the Government achieve its aims on sustainability.

Maggie Simpson, RFG Director General said: “Rail freight is helping to ensure that essential infrastructure can be built sustainably using low carbon logistics.

“With the right policies in place we can do more, removing HGVs off the road network and powering the construction of the railways, road, offices and new homes.”

Rail freight delivers huge economic benefits the UK providing £2.45bn worth of benefits to the UK economy each year.

This includes £1.65bn in productivity benefits and £800m of benefits through environmental grants, reduced congestion and improved safety.

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