The British freight forwarding industry is frequently blamed by consumers for increasing pollution levels in the country’s towns and cities. But according to industry spokesmen, it is the government rather than the freight industry that is to blame.
Of course it is true that transporting cargo by land, sea and air pollutes the environment. However, the industry argues that the government’s failure to accommodate rail freight transportation in its plans for the rail network will push more transporters onto the roads. This will in turn lead to greater levels of congestion and pollution.
At the moment rail freight has not been included in the government’s longer term plans for the passenger rail network for 2009-2014. This is despite the fact that there have already been two reports commissioned by the Treasury which support the case for rail freight. In fact the reports go even further than this saying that there should be greater levels of investment in infrastructure at ports. They also underline the danger of unrestricted carbon emissions that will occur if pressure is not taken off the country’s roads.
Freight transportation to and from the UK is predicted to increase considerably over the next ten years or so. Therefore if money is not invested in the railways to cope with this growth the current systems are unlikely to be able to cope.
At the moment no funds have been allocated to help existing rail networks manage with forecasted industry changes. This will lead to roads becoming blocked with lorries and trucks which will severely damage the country’s air quality.