A number of Parliamentarians took a break from the Brexit votes to discuss issues around getting freight off the road.
The increased amount of light freight on the road has occurred because of growth in online shopping. This change in customer behaviour is because it is often more convenient to the customer, but it has lead to an increase in road congestion which costs businesses £9 billion per annum in wasted time, fuel and unnecessary carbon emissions.
With this in mind, this roundtable looked to set out the key role that rail freight could play in reversing this trend as a single freight train can remove 77 HGV’s from our roads and rail produces 76% less carbon dioxide emissions than the equivalent road journey.
Rail Operations Group, who presented a case study on how they are working towards a practical solution, described how they have acquired of two of Porterbrook’s Flex Trains for light logistics traffic. CEO Karl Watts said ‘the time is right’ for a modal shift from road to rail, with a ‘huge opportunity to re-establish a comprehensive network of express parcels trains and help reduce the number of commercial vehicles on UK roads.’
Kelvin Hopkins MP, who has been promoting this shift for a long time agreed that there has to be a change saying that: “Shifting as much freight from road to rail is vital as it will improve air quality and the Government needs include this in their environmental strategy”.