MSPs reassure FTA on future of Scotland’s freight facilities grant

Holyrood, Scotland: FTA representatives who met MSPs in Holyrood say they are reassured  by the support they received to protect the Freight Facilities Grant in Scotland.

The FFG, which is in danger of being cut by Scottish Government next year, has enabled companies to invest in shifting goods by more environmentally friendly means, crucial in helping Scotland meet its target of a 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

FFG’s future hangs in the balance following a precipitous cut in funding in the revised Scottish budget in February and a real terms cut in ‘support for [the] freight industry’ to an annual allocation of just £1.1m every year until 2015, announced in September’s spending review.

FTA believes this level of funding will be insufficient for the majority of intended schemes and will make Scottish railways instantly less attractive for those who could consider taking goods off the road.

Chris MacRae, FTA’s head of policy for Scotland, said:

It was important for us to meet with members of the environment and infrastructure committees face-to-face and push home the arguments supporting greater funding of FFG, in line with our written submission to the Infrastructure and Capital Investment committee.

“Support for modal shift is essential if Scotland is to meet its carbon targets, with those companies who have already put funding to good use by investing in new cranes and longer loading bays showing it is already working to ‘green’ Scotland’s supply chain. This view seemed to be shared by the MSPs whose support was certainly reassuring. We look forward to working with the Committee more closely on the thorny issue of future funding for the freight facilities grant.”