The efficient movement of freight in the UK is vital to the economy and must not be stifled by inadequate road or rail infrastructure and lack of capacity. Links to our ports and airports need to work well to ensure delays and disruption are minimised and journeys are reliable. The planning process needs to support infrastructure improvements that are in the national economic interest.
FTA, through consultation with members, looks to identify the most appropriate road, rail, port access and air infrastructure improvements and works with authorities and government to ensure the delivery of schemes that will serve to improve the efficiency of freight movement regardless of mode.
FTA calls on the government to ensure the Roads Investment Strategy remains protected and provides sufficient funding to deliver the full approved programme of road improvements.
Efficient and effective road networks are crucial for the logistics industry to be able to support the needs of UK businesses. It is important the government continues to provide certainty on roads investment so the logistics industry can plan for improvements and the work that will be needed to build the roads.
While planning improvements to road infrastructure, it is easy to forget the need for driver facilities which are vital for the safe operation of the network. FTA has agreed, through consultation with members, a Driver’s Facilities Charter which looks to national and local government to consider the provision of suitable facilities for drivers in the planning of infrastructure on the road and at development sites.
FTA members are open to ideas about how new road infrastructure should be charged in the future. However, there are a series of conditions that would need to be met to secure support. Read FTA’s Road Tolling Charter.
FTA urges the government to ensure freight-focused rail infrastructure funding must continue to enable a greater range of services at reduced costs – allowing more of the UK's businesses to make rail a part of their supply chain.
Network Rail no longer has a specific freight-funding stream, so it is vital the social benefits of rail freight infrastructure improvements are not ignored in favour of politically attractive passenger-only spending programmes.
There are incremental improvements around the rail network that would help unlock the attainment of significantly greater freight traffic on the railways instead of the roads – these must be pursued if UK logistics is to improve its environmental performance and increase efficiency.
Air freight services are a key ingredient in the UK economy – more than half of UK exports (by value) beyond the EU are carried by air. While many UK airports provide vital services, most UK air freight is carried through one airport – Heathrow. Increasing runway capacity at Heathrow without compromising the services currently offered is the most important development the government can secure for the UK’s air freight connectivity.
However, the limited number of night flights that currently operate are vital to the UK for links to the Far East and must be maintained.
Water freight services (around the coast or on rivers and canals) can deliver lower emissions and improvements in safety. However, there are many barriers to a larger scale shift. Financial costs play a large part in this, as well as frequency of services and convenient access to the network.
What is FTA campaigning for?
- The government to reconfirm commitment to rail and road infrastructure improvements into the 2020s, protect the role of freight-related improvements in rail spending and provide more funds for maintenance of the existing road network.
- The government to continue its support for expanding Heathrow but ensure high-value early-morning arrivals continue to be available.
- Water-freight access to be protected. Grant regimes for both sea and rail freight should be maintained and enhanced.
Find out more
FTA’s Road Tolling Charter
Helping rail freight deliver for its customers
Contact Christopher Snelling, Head of UK Policy at FTA