’Red diesel’ threat to rail freight

THE MID-MAY announcement of a government consultation on the use of ‘red diesel’ (as rebated gas oil is known) in non-road vehicles is a significant concern for the freight sector, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), whose members move more than 90% of the UK’s rail freight nationwide.

According to Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of UK policy, rail should be ruled out of the discussion from the start, 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,’ he says, ‘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.’

‘Disincentivising 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, says the FTA.