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River, rail could cut freight emissions by 12 percent

water.jpgIf a report by Royal & SunAlilance is on the money, the UK transport sector should be making like Ratty from The Wind in the Willows. You may be wondering waht use the UK transport sector would be in getting Mr Toad of hilarious scrapes, but think more along the lines of messing about on the river.

Well, messing about is taking a bit far – there are health and safety issues to consider, Greenbang supposes, and it’s all fun and games til someone loses an eye – but the report says that transport should be looking to shift more to water rather than road freight.

A little more from the report, if you fancy:

The UK could reduce the carbon impact of domestic freight by 12% within a decade (a reduction of 1.2 million tonnes of carbon) if policy makers, the transport industry and planners improve rail and water freight infrastructure. By 2018 road haulage could be reduced to as little as 50% of total domestic freight movement (currently 257 billion tonnes), a fall of 22%. To reach this figure, water and rail freight would need to increase by a third and three-quarters respectively.

Unfortunately, the report says, a lack of investment in rail and shipping infrastructure now means that the UK is far from capable of supporting an efficient intermodal* system. But don’t fear, there’s an answer at hand:

Francis Power, Director of Sea & Water, says: “In the UK we seem only to think about providing good links to residential property, leaving businesses to carry on creating hefty carbon footprints. When we look at regenerating port areas, we need to think of our future transport needs, providing rail access and building warehouses nearby.”

The report calls for a number of strategic inland ports to be developed and suggests that Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) play an important role in identifying these sites. Additionally, although the UK is not in a position to make an overnight logistical switch, more than 50 smaller ports around the UK could already take feeder freight services from major ports.

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