David Stewart MSP

David Stewart urges Transport Minister to drop proposals to cut Freight Grants

4 January 2011

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart is writing to the new Transport Minister Keith Brown urging him to drop a proposal to cut Freight Grants in the Draft Budget.
He has raised the matter after the Chairman of HITRANS Duncan MacIntyre told the Government he was worried about the proposal within the Draft Budget to reduce support for freight grants from £10.3m in 2010-11 to £2.9m in 2011-12.
This sees the complete suspension of Freight Facilities Grant (FFG). Mode Shift Revenue Support (MSRS) and Waterborne Freight Grant (WFG) only will continue.
HITRANS proposes the continuation of FFG at a similar level to today and says the economic and environmental gains far outweigh the modest £7.4m saving sought.
They say it is vital that the Government continues to support the promotion of sustainable rail and water based freight movement within the Highlands and Islands in its bid to reduce emissions, to overcome the competitive disadvantage of rurality and to enable rail assets to be used to their full potential.
David Stewart said: “Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) has been used to fund a number of Highlands and Islands schemes including the Tesco/Stobart/Russell rail operation to Inverness taking 20 lorries per day each way off the A9, oil to Fort William and Lairg, and floating piers for the current Caledonian Canal timber trial.
“Capital grants are vital in helping to offset the higher development costs associated with terminal development and intermodal equipment.
“I believe the benefits of these FFGs to the economy of the Highlands and Islands more than outweigh the savings made by cutting them and will be calling on Mr Brown to drop this proposal.”

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Written by davidstewart

January 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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