Transport Committee Press Notice

Freight Transport


The Transport Committee's Report on the Ports Industry in England and Wales recommended that the Government develop an integrated freight plan. The Committee has decided to focus on this aspect of transport policy in a forthcoming inquiry.

The Department for Transport sees its role within freight transport as ensuring that goods can be moved freely, reliably and efficiently, while minimising the impact of doing so. As part of this role the Department states its objectives are to ₓfacilitate the continued development of a competitive and efficient freight sector while reducing the impact of freight movement on congestion, safety, the environment and other road users; and prepare domestic initiatives to reduce burdens on industry, as part of the Department's drive towards better regulation.â‚?

As part of this duty, the Department has funded programmes which aim to minimise congestion, make better use of transport infrastructure, minimise pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce noise and disturbance from freight movements. The Government invested ‚£30.9 million in freight programmes in 2005-06. This is set to fall to ‚£24.2 million in 2007-08, once mode-neutral arrangements are introduced.

The Transport Committee will examine how successfully the Department is fulfilling its responsibility to facilitate free movement of goods while limiting harmful impacts. We will also examine whether the Department's responsibilities should be extended, to developing and implementing an integrated freight plan, for example. We would welcome submissions on the following points:

  • Is the Department's investment in logistics programmes-including the Sustainable Distribution Fund-good value for money and meeting the objectives?

  • International distribution patterns involving air freight increase carbon dioxide by up to 30 times that of sea transport-what more can be done to promote modal shift from road and air freight to inland waterway, shipping and rail? How can the Government encourage and incentivise further efficiency improvements

  • Air freight in the South-East is forecast to grow from 2.2 million tonnes a year in 2003 to 14 million tonnes by 2030. Has the Department adequately planned for the capacity and access implications of this very significant growth? How will transport networks need to adjust to serve the growing air freight market?

  • Should the Department have more responsibility for planning and delivering integrated infrastructure which might promote â‚Ëœfree movement of goods'? How is this to be balanced with the Department's other commitments? What should be the priorities for the Transport Innovation Fund productivity stream?

  • How successfully has the Government influenced European negotiations regarding freight operations? How could the Government help to ensure a level playing field between UK and overseas freight companies?

  • How effective are the Freight Quality Partnerships in improving the local experience of freight and deliveries? Are the restrictions on night-time deliveries still appropriate? What impact would weakening the restrictions have on quality of life and other factors?

  • How can the road safety record of haulage vehicles be improved?

Interested parties are invited to submit written evidence by Tuesday 9 October 2007.

Guidance on submitting written evidence

It assists the Committee if those submitting written evidence adhere to the following guidelines:

1. Submissions should be as short as is consistent with conveying the relevant information. As a rough guide, it is usually helpful if they can be confined to six pages or less. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference. A single-page summary of the main points is sometimes helpful. The submission should be in a form suitable for monochrome photocopying.

2. Evidence should be submitted in Word or Rich Text format, by e-mail to [email protected]. The body of the e-mail should include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. It should be absolutely clear who the submission is from, particularly whether it is on behalf of an organisation or in the name of an individual. Please include the word ₓFreightâ‚? in the subject header of your e-mail.

3. Once accepted by the Committee, written evidence becomes the Committee's property and it may decide to publish it or make other public use of it. You should not publish evidence submitted to the Committee. If you wish your submission, or any part of it, to be treated as confidential, then please indicate this clearly when you submit it.

4. Though the Committee is happy to receive copies of published material, formal submissions of evidence should be original work and not published elsewhere.

5. Committee staff are happy to give further advice on any aspect of the Committee's work by phone or e-mail.

More detailed guidance on giving evidence to a select committee is available on-line at:

Press Notice 53/2006-07
2 August 2007