Railways: Freight

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 26 October 2021.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure that increasing energy costs do not discourage freight operators from sending freight by rail instead of reverting to road transport.

Photo of Chris Heaton-Harris Chris Heaton-Harris Minister of State (Department for Transport)

The Government recognises fully business concerns around increasing electricity prices and we are regularly engaging with the rail freight industry on this issue. We are not aware that increasing energy costs are causing freight operators to send freight by road instead of rail.

The Government strongly supports the modal shift of freight from road to rail to reduce congestion and carbon emissions from across the freight sector. This is supported through significant investment in the rail network to improve its capability and capacity for freight, and through £20m per year grant schemes which support the carriage of freight by rail and water on routes where road haulage has a financial advantage, resulting in the equivalent of 900,000 fewer HGV journeys in 2021/22. The Government has also committed to introducing a rail freight growth target to encourage the continued growth of the sector and its success in the future.

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