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Release ID: 5351

Scottish Spending Review pays lip service to freight modal shift, says FTA

Companies looking to reap the environmental and economic benefits of shifting more goods by water and rail instead of by lorry have been dealt a significant blow after today’s Scottish Spending Review revealed a real terms cut in support for modal shift. That’s the view from the Freight Transport Association (FTA) which has accused the Scottish government of being disingenuous over its so-called support for freight modal shift.

Governmental ‘support for the freight industry’ had dropped from £10.3m in 2010 to £2.9m following the revised Scottish Budget earlier in the year. Today’s spending review has effectively introduced a real terms cut in ‘support for freight industry’ to an annual allocation of just £1.1m every year until 2015.

Chris MacRae, FTA’s Head of Policy for Scotland, said:

“What the Government has announced will make it even harder for Scotland to reach its tough carbon reduction commitments. By effectively cutting support for companies to invest in the facilities they need to replace lorry miles with other modes of transport, it is in danger of failing to support the creation of an environmentally-sustainable supply chain."

As part of its so-called commitment to ‘low carbon spend’ £69 million has been promised to ‘reduce congestion and support better public transport, active travel, low carbon vehicles and freight modal shift’. However, the proportion of funding available for freight modal shift falls well below an acceptable level.

MacRae concluded:

“We acknowledge there is a commitment to seeing essential infrastructure projects going ahead, such as the Forth Replacement Crossing and other essential roads projects vital to freight transport. However, freight modal shift is an important part of Scotland achieving a sustainable supply chain. Quite how Scotland’s tough carbon reduction targets will be achieved when only a little more than one per cent of the funding towards a ‘low carbon future’ has been allocated to freight modal shift is a very serious concern.”

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