Transport group criticises hikes in access charges

Logistics lobby group the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has criticised what it believes are the ‘mixed signals’ being received by the rail freight sector from the Government and the Office of Rail and Road.

While there is good news for rail in the confirmation of increased funding for Network Rail’s next Control Period in 2019-24, higher access charges to use the rail network could inhibit much-needed growth in rail freight volumes.

Dark clouds gathering over UK rail freight? The Freight Transport Association has criticised the ORR for approving increases in track access charges from 2021. With many freight flows operating on small margins, this could force traffic back on to roads at a time when rail should be helping to reduce pollution and congestion on the roads. On November 13, GB Railfreight’s No. 66789 British Rail 1948-1997 heads down the Aire Valley, near Cononley, with the 11.25 Arcow Quarry-Scunthorpe stone train. NEIL HARVEY

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has recommended a two-year freeze on access charges at the beginning of CP6, followed by a ramping up of charges over the following three years. T

his will increase the total variable charges for freight during CP6 by 10% in real terms, with further increases likely between 2024 and 2029 unless Network Rail makes a dramatic increase in its efficiency.

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