The Scottish Government’s renewed commitment to get freight off our roads is just not enough according to one local haulier.
Grangemouth-based John Mitchell Haulage is one firm which has never taken advantage of a Freight Facilities Grant - a fund that finances companies looking to move their freight distribution from road to rail and an initiative which the newly-elected government stated it will continued to provide.
Iain Mitchell, managing director, said: “At no time have we seen it as being financially viable to get involved in. The money they would need to invest to have any impact on the volume of freight on roads in Scotland would be immense.
“It will not happen in my generation.”
Mr Mitchell added the scheme would be more successful and have a bigger impact if it was used in the areas of greatest need.
He said: “There should be one facility getting a good grant to make it work - one area where they could really make a difference is the Highlands where you have hundreds of artics bringing timber from the forests.
“The government is spreading the grant a bit thin, rather than focusing on areas that really require it.”
Proposals to disband the scheme led to a campaign by transport organisations and environmental bodies.
And, following pressure from the Freight Transport Association and industry leaders, including The Malcolm Group and Russell Logistic, it was reprieved by the newly elected government.
Keith Brown, Scottish Housing and Transport Minister, said: “We are committed to encouraging a shift of freight movements to more sustainable modes of transport and this award is in addition to almost £4.2 million invested during 2010-11 to enable freight companies to do just this.”
Chris MacRae, Freight Transport Association head of policy, said: “This is welcome news at a time when the pressure is really on to improve environmental performance across the country.
“Wider adoption of the grant by Scottish businesses will alleviate pressure on our road network and improve the overall efficiency of the supply chain.”