New freight transport policy called for by the Infrastructure Committee


A new freight transport policy needs to be developed by the Scottish Government in order to meet future freight transport needs, according to an inquiry by the Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee.

During the course of their inquiry, the Committee heard that the last freight transport policy was published in 2006 by the then Scottish Executive. The Committee concluded that the freight transport sector would benefit from clear policy guidance that recognises the appropriate strategic role of the Scottish Government within the mix of public and private organisations that constitute the freight sector.  

Convener of the Committee Jim Eadie MSP said: 

“The ability of Scotland to move goods both within our country, to other parts of the UK and to the rest of the world is critical to the success of our wider economy.  

“The freight industry is a dynamic one and one which is changing constantly to meet the needs of the wider economy and also playing their part in contributing to making sure that Scotland is low carbon economy.  

“Therefore our Committee is recommending that a new policy be delivered by the Scottish Government to ensure that we provide strategic direction and make sure that all modes of freight transport are receiving the investment it needs.”

Other recommendations from the Committee’s report include:

  • Road freight. The Committee believes that road safety should be at the centre of any move to change speed limits but it recommends the Scottish Government commission studies into expanding the 50mph limit to other part of the Scottish road network, particularly those in immediate vicinity with the border with England.
  • Rail freight. The Committee recommends that the concerns raised in this inquiry in relation to the suitability of the rail network to facilitate increased freight capacity are highlighted by the Scottish Government in its dialogue with Network Rail to assist the latter’s ongoing planning work.
  • Water freight. The Committee is concerned that Scotland might lose connectivity to major shipping routes if its feeder ports are not developed sufficiently, and recommends that the Scottish Government works with port operators to ensure that measures are in place to “future proof” Scotland’s strategic container shipping links.
  • Links with Europe. The Committee supports the Scottish Government’s efforts to maintain the vital Rosyth to Zeebrugge ferry but recommends a study into how the service can be secured in the long term. The Committee also recommends that the Scottish Government consider afresh how to get the best use from the Channel Tunnel for Scotland-continent freight flows.
  • Freight grants and funding. The Committee supports the grant scheme but recommends that the Scottish Government examines the potential benefits of reforming the grant eligibility and application process to achieve benefits for the wider network.
  • Urban freight. The Committee recommends that the Scottish Government explore opportunities for increasing the use of electric vans, cargo bikes and other forms of sustainable transport for last mile deliveries in Scottish towns and cities and to identify what is needed to encourage an increase in such vehicles.
  • Environment and emissions. Whilst the Committee acknowledges the need for all those involved in freight transport to contribute to this reduction in emissions, it recommends that this should be a prevailing theme in an updated freight transport policy.


The Committee’s inquiry looked at freight transport via all modes – road, rail, water and air

Read the report

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