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CD 1045 - 52pp Text 21/8/08 12:17 Page 45
FREIGHT TRANSPORT
Time for change
The Government must invest more in publish a timetable of when this could
improving the freight transport occur. MPs also want the importance of
infrastructure given its importance to the
UK air freight operators' competitiveness
national economy, the imperative to
with European rivals recognised and warn
reduce congestion on the roads and
the UK economy could suffer if UK
environmental concerns cannot be left to
airports become less attractive in
the market to provide all the solutions
comparison to the major Continental
and that the Government needs to
airfreight hubs. There has been some
provide more strategic direction.
evidence of UK-based companies
Chairman of the Transport Committee
trucking goods to and from continental
Louise Ellman said: "The Government has announced proposals to address the
airports.
embraced the idea that, if the freight problem. The RHA estimates that UK
industry is left entirely to the market, a hauliers pay between £10,000 and
Rail
system resulting in the perfect, most £15,000 per HGV more on fuel duty than
efficient transportation of freight will their Continental competition. The
On the railways, Network Rail must not
emerge. However, that approach ignores situation could get significantly worse
treat freight as the poor relation. The
other priorities, such as regional with the rising cost of oil and the fact the
Committee wants attempts to improve
regeneration, employment, the wealth European Union is trying to remove
freight operations treated with as much
gap and the environment. restrictions on freight transport operations
urgency as proposals relating to
carried out within one member state by
passengers. While there were examples
Road hauliers from another EU country. of freight being transferred to rail, MPs
A method must be devised to remove
heard that the cost of rail is prohibitive.
continental hauliers and carriers'
Air While Network Rail might aspire to
competitive advantage over their British The Committee supports the
improve the service it offers to its freight
counterparts. It is patently unfair that UK Government's efforts to secure the
customers, it does not appear to have
carriers are left at a disadvantage inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions
much of an idea of how to go about
compared to continental competitors Trading Scheme, noting that UK air freight
doing so. The Committee wants to see
through high levels of taxation on fuel, increased by 40 per cent in the ten years Network Rail publish a strategy for
eight years after the Government from 1995, and wants the Government to improving performance for freight.
Courier Direct FIRST FOR NEWS & VIEWS 45
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