The UK government’s Integrated Rail Plan, announced today (18 November 2021), which includes the removal of the proposed eastern leg of HS2, represents a missed opportunity to enhance the efficiency of supply chains in the North and Midlands, according to Logistics UK, one of the UK’s biggest business groups.
Commenting on the announcement from Westminster, Alexandra Herdman, public policy manager at Logistics UK said:
“The scrapping of the proposed eastern leg of HS2 from the East Midlands to Leeds is a blow for efficient and sustainable supply chains across the region – the new line would have released additional capacity for rail freight services to assist in connecting industry in the north of England with the rest of the country.
“However, Logistics UK is delighted that there will be an upgrade to the TransPennine Mail Line to enable additional freight services to be maximised in this part of the country, something the business group has been campaigning for over many years.
'This upgrade will enable containers to move swiftly from ports in the North East to major northern cities, which will help to support local economic development, while removing lorries from our congested roads and supporting the UK’s decarbonisation goals; for every tonne of freight transported by rail, the carbon emissions are 76% lower than road freight.
'We are also pleased to hear of the government’s intention to progress with the electrification of the TransPennine Mail Line and Midland Main Line, a vital move in the UK’s mission to decarbonise its economy.
“Unfortunately, it appears that rail freight is mostly an afterthought in the government’s plan announced today; Logistics UK and its members would have appreciated further measures to facilitate specific investment into rail freight infrastructure. We urge the government to give greater emphasis to a strategic modal shift from road to rail to support efficient and sustainable supply chains.”
Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.
With COVID-19, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc, says Logistics UK.
'Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods,' the group says.