Government responds to Commission's study on future of freight

Sir John Armitt notes government's endorsement of majority of recommendations in Commission's 2019 report.

Published: 4 Aug 2021

By: Ben Wilson

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UK Mail lorry on the viaduct

The government has today (4 August 2021) published its formal response to the Commission’s 2019 study, Better delivery: the challenge for freight. This study found that through the adoption of new technologies and the recognition of freight’s needs in the planning system, it is possible to decarbonise road and rail freight by 2050 and manage its contribution to congestion.

The Government’s response welcomes the core themes of the Commission’s report, focused on raising the status of freight in government and taking a cross-modal approach to policy making and investment decisions.

It sets out how ministers will develop these themes through the newly inaugurated Freight Council and the development of a Future of Freight strategic Plan, both of which were recommended by the Commission.

Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said:

“It is to its credit that government has recently opened a consultation on our bold recommendation to end the sale of new diesel HGVs by 2040.

It is also encouraging that, amid the pandemic, it has formed a Freight Council in line with our proposal, bringing together representatives from across all modes to inform government’s thinking on the future of freight.

But as the pandemic has shown, we are becoming ever more reliant on freight – just as the need to decarbonise our roads and rail networks becomes more pressing.

To meet the needs of industry, government’s forthcoming Future of Freight Plan must address the need for a comprehensive assessment of infrastructure requirements to enable freight decarbonisation, including work with distribution network operators to plan future upgrades.

We look forward to seeing the detailed Plan later this year.”

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