FTA voices industry concern over “tax on rail freight”
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has said that the announcement of a UK government consultation on the use of “red diesel” (rebated gas oil) in non-road vehicles, including rail, is a “significant concern” for the freight sector.
In a statement issued today (17 May), Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of UK policy, rail should be ruled out of the discussion, because of the key role it plays in moving large quantities of goods and materials across the country.
“Every freight train takes about 60 HGVs off the country’s roads,” said Snelling “giving carbon, air pollution, road safety and congestion benefits. It also helps the economy by providing a productive, cost effective and high performing option for logistics operators needing to support key industries, including the construction, manufacturing and retail sectors.”
“Dis-incentivising diesel in trains makes no sense as, until the Government electrifies the network, there is no alternative open to operators or users.
“On average, a gallon of diesel will move a tonne of goods 246 miles by rail, but only 88 miles by road.”
The logistics industry is working to increase the use of rail but, according to Snelling, fears about future tax increases on it will make this harder.
Snelling concluded: “FTA believes the Government should reassure business and the rail freight industry immediately that this review will not end with train services being made to pay the same high fuel taxes as road vehicles currently face – the highest fuel taxes in Europe.”