THE GOVERNMENT has commissioned the National Infrastructure Commission to conduct a study on freight. The announcement, made in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s autumn budget, calls for an interim report in autumn 2018 and a final report in spring 2019. The study is to look at urban congestion, decarbonisation and harnessing the potential of new technologies, including truck platooning.

The detailed scope of the study makes no specific mention of rail, other than calling for the NIC to consult with Network Rail and the rail freight industry. The study will include an assessment of freight’s impact on urban congestion and emissions and the future of inter-city freight movements.

The NIC is called to make recommendations for the future of freight infrastructure and regulation, and to consider the potential of emerging technologies to improve the efficiency, productivity and environmental impact of UK freight. Examination of non-fossil fuels for road vehicles and options for decarbonising the freight sector will also feature. The study will work alongside the NIC’s assessment of the country’s long-term infrastructure needs as part of the National Infrastructure Assessment.