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Response to Greater Manchester Plan for Homes, Jobs and the Environment.

18th March 2019

Freight on Rail thanks Greater Manchester for the opportunity to comment on this strategy.

Freight on Rail, a partnership of the rail freight industry, the transport trade unions and Campaign for Better Transport, works to promote the economic, social and environmental benefits of rail freight to local, devolved and central Government.

Logistics is an important growth sector in the North-West, as noted in the document so we have made the following comments under the Industry & Warehousing and Freight & Logistics policies as well as additional comments about the safety benefits of modal shift to rail.

Industry & Warehousing question 39 Policy GM-P4

Paragraphs 6.23- 6.33  Pages 104-108

The renewal and enhancement of existing industrial and warehousing premises is important in the quest to promote sustainable freight options.

As mentioned in our response to the freight & logistics policy below, safeguarding suitable sites for rail freight terminals is crucial. Greater Manchester will therefore need to give direction to local authorities to protect both existing and potential suitable sites for future use. 

Freight & logistics Policy GM-C 7

Paragraphs 10.52-10.53 Pages 191 to 192 but on line on P193 to 194

Question 71

Freight on Rail mostly agrees with this policy but would like to highlight the following:-

Item 1- We support the protecting of existing rail and water-served sites and associated infrastructure but it is also crucial that potential sites for future use for rail and water terminals are safeguarded, as there is a scarcity of suitable sites.

In order for Manchester to achieve its goal of more sustainable freight additional rail/road terminals are needed with good rail and road connections as more freight traffic cannot be transferred to rail without more terminals. These terminals will vary in size depending on the cargo and will need to be in the right locations with good rail and road connections.

For example, more aggregates terminals are needed in Manchester to bring building materials into the heart of the city. Almost half of London’s aggregates are delivered by rail to inner city aggregates rail/road terminals. Projects such as Crossrail and the London Olympics used rail freight services both for delivering construction materials and for removing industrial waste. According to the Mineral Products Associated, an average freight train can carry enough materials to build 30 houses. 

It is important that local authorities are given direction to safeguard both existing and potential sites in their local plans as once the lands are lost they can never return to rail.

Item 4 - We suggest it should state that provision of consolidation and distribution centres should be intermodal, where possible. When planning new consolidation centres, they should be capable of being rail served if not rail connected initially to contribute towards low emissions urban freight deliveries. Consumer rail cargoes can be delivered by rail to Strategic Rail Freight interchanges (SRFIs) on the edges of conurbations and then transhipped to low emissions vehicles for the final mile.  Electric vans and smaller  heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) can be used, as can cargo bikes for light products such as mail.

As stated in your paragraph 10.52, logistics is an important and growing sector for the North-West. Terminals of all sizes offer direct and indirect jobs. The re-generation benefits of terminals, in particular SRFIs, is considerable. For example, SRFIs will generate around 6,000 jobs with £10 million business rates to the local authority. Typical job mix is 35 per cent administrative/manual, 50 per cent skilled semi-skilled and 15 per cent managerial/technical. The British Property Federation report stated that the UK logistics sector has a gross value added (GVA) per employee of £58,000 forecast to rise to £75,000 by 2035 - twice that of banking and finance.

These investments will give the rail freight industry confidence to follow suit.

There are also opportunities to use mainline rail terminals at night to bring in rail freight trains as shown by two night-time trials at Euston. Colas Rail carried out two trials of full freight trains into Euston platforms with direct access to the road network. Sainsburys and TNT took part in the two separate trials with cargoes being transhipped to low emissions vehicles at Euston.  This was only halted because of the HS2 work at Euston.

Item 3 – We support the inclusion of the rail spur for Port Salford. Ref paragraph 11.196

Your paragraph 11.330 refers to the M6 high volumes of freight traffic for which we would like to draw your attention to our research suggesting intermodal solutions.

The West Coast Mainline (WCML), the parallel rail route to the M6 is an important strategic corridor which needs more freight capacity to take HGVs off the M6. Parts of the M6 have circa 13,500 large HGVs movements every day which represent 12 per cent of the road traffic.

Research, commissioned by Campaign for Better Transport and sponsored by the Department for Transport (DfT), showed the potential for future modal shift to rail from key transport corridors including the M6. After consulting Network Rail, the research estimated that 20 per cent of HGV traffic could be transferred to rail from the M6, removing around 2,646 HGV movements each day if the WCML rail network was upgraded. It was estimated that if an extra path per hour could be made available, ten to 15 train paths per day could be implemented after allowing for maintenance and non-peak running.

Further comments

Safety benefits of rail freight should be taken into account in freight policy

HGVs were involved in 43 per cent of critical incidents lasting more than five hours and 56 per cent of critical incidents lasting more than ten hours on motorways and truck roads last year.

This despite the fact that HGVs account for just one in ten vehicles on motorways. HGVs were almost five times more likely than cars to be involved in fatal accidents on minor roads in 2017. HGVs are far more likely to be involved in fatal collisions than cars. In fact, on average over the past 11 years HGVs were almost five times more likely than cars to be involved in fatal crashes on minor roads; three and a half times more likely to be involved on motorways; and over three times more likely than cars to be involved in fatal collisions on A roads. .(See graph below)

The latest DfT valuation of the benefits of prevention of road collisions puts the costs per fatality at over 1 million.  Source DfT table RAS60001

Source: Traffic statistics table TRA0104, Accident statistics Table RAS 30017, both DfT
This graph shows HGV involvement rate in fatal crashes on different road types over the past ten years.

Graph showing involvement in fataltities HGVs over 3.5 tonnes compared to all traffic

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