A Call for Evidence is launched today to help shape a new study into improving the infrastructure supporting the UK’s freight networks.

At the Budget, the Chancellor asked the National Infrastructure Commission to conduct a study into the role that freight plays in the economy and identify how future infrastructure investments can support better freight connectivity and reduce the sector’s carbon footprint.

Launching the Call for Evidence, National Infrastructure Commission Chair Sir John Armitt said:

“Freight is important to everyday life. Businesses and consumers expect their finished goods and online purchases to get where they need to go on time, and our prosperity as a trading nation depends on having a reliable and well-planned freight infrastructure.

“The sector is a global success story and innovator in transporting goods by road, rail, sea and air, but it is not without impact. If we’re going to tackle tough issues like congestion and air quality, freight must be part of the solution.

Developments such as platooning connected HGVs and the growth of electric vehicles are set to transform freight, so we need to consider all the options.

“The evidence we gather will help determine how we ensure the freight sector supports the UK’s long-term prosperity.”

The questions the Commission is keen for answers on include:

  • What are the key constraints to the effective and efficient movement of freight in the UK and how do we overcome them?
  • How might the demand for freight develop and change over the next 20-30 years?
  • What effect does congestion have on the efficiency of freight movements and emissions?
  • How can freight reduce its carbon and air quality impacts?
  • How could new technologies increase the efficiency and productivity of UK freight?
  • What international experiences can the UK learn from to improve freight and reduce its carbon footprint

An interim report in the autumn will assess the economic impact of a more efficient, low-carbon freight sector and solutions to achieve that. A final report in 2019 will recommend changes in infrastructure planning and investment to meet the UK’s freight needs over the next 30 years.

More information on the Freight Study and the Call for Evidence process can be found here.

Submissions of evidence should be no longer than ten pages and submitted to Freightstudy@nic.gsi.gov.uk by end Monday 5 March 2018.