Call for U-turn on freight grants

The Scottish Government is making a serious mistake withdrawing grants that have encouraged the transfer of freight from road to rail, says Cathy Peattie MSP.

The Scottish Government is making a serious mistake withdrawing grants that have encouraged the transfer of freight from road to rail, says Cathy Peattie MSP.

The freight budget (currently £10.3m) is being slashed, with the Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) scheme closing entirely, leaving just £2.9m for the Mode Shift Revenue Support (MSRS) and Waterborne Freight Grant (WFG) schemes.

“This is a short-sighted cost-cutting move that runs counter to the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework objectives and undermines Scottish Climate Change action.

“Freight Facility grants provide an incentive that helps reduce congestion and carbon emissions, providing numerous social, economic and environmental benefits. They have been very cost effective as a means of encouraging the transfer of freight to rail, contributing to the Government’s targets of making our transport network smarter and greener.

“FFGs have taken over 33 million lorry miles a year off Scottish roads. Each train transports freight equivalent to 50 or in some cases as much as 160 HGVs, and produces 70% less carbon dioxide.

“These issues have been discussed extensively, including with the Minister at committee, and I know he is well aware of the advantages of getting freight off our roads, so it it is somewhat surprising that this is happening. I am calling on him to think again.”

Ends

Cathy Peattie is

  • Deputy Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee,
  • Labour spokesperson on Climate Change, and
  • MSP for Falkirk East which includes the Grangemouth intermodal freight hub.
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