Investing in infrastructure

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 that delays and disruption are minimised and that journeys are reliable.

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 that delays and disruption are minimised and that 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 which will serve the to improve the efficiency of freight movement regardless of mode.

Road

FTA calls on the Government to ensure that 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 that the Government continues to provide certainty on roads investment so that 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 [link to Driver’s Facilities Charter.pdf] 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. 

Rail

FTA urges the Government to ensure that freight-focused rail infrastructure funding must continue in the next spending period to improve supply chains across the UK, achieving reduced costs and improved services.

Network Rail has a specific freight funding stream in the current Control Period. This is important as improved infrastructure enhances the ability of the rail freight operators to provide more frequent, flexible and cost-efficient services.  

Air freight

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

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, and 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 that 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