FTA Fighting The Fight

Posted on: Thursday, 2 February 2012 by Mike Webb in categories Westminster, Road

No prizes for identifying the biggest issue of the year for the FTA and its members – fuel duty. It has been hard work, campaigning on a number of fronts to get a fairer fuel settlement as the global price continued to rise. However, it brought some outstanding results, justifying everyone’s endeavour. For my part, it was a pleasure to be involved in such a successful campaign.

At the same time as the Autumn Statement when the Chancellor announced the good news about fuel duty, the Government released its long-awaited Logistics Growth Review. FTA had been working hard to ensure a sensible future for logistics, both in terms of industry regulation and, crucially, planning for the future development of the road and rail network.

The settlement was a good one for major road routes, and there are now firm commitments that work will soon start on a number of FTA’s key trade routes. However, as welcome as developments are on routes such as the M25, A14 and A453, there are still numerous important logistics corridors whose futures are less certain; such as the A14 and M4. FTA will continue to convince Government of the need to find the appropriate finance to progress these routes.

There will also be a relaxation on regulation surrounding the use of commercial vehicles as emergency snow ploughs and FTA is already feeding into the research that will inform how this works in practice. However, the Growth Review is not only concerned with roads. Following FTA concerns expressed during the passage of the Localism Bill, the Chancellor has also pledged that the construction of rail freight terminals will be made easier by tackling hurdles in the planning system.

At the same time last year FTA staff and members were much engaged in looking at more local issues at the seats of government in Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Needless to say those efforts will be repeated, indeed accelerated in 2012.
All in all, then, plenty for FTA to get its teeth into over the coming year, and, better still, the noises being made in the corridors of power are quite encouraging.

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