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Sustainable Distribution Fund

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much has been (a) made available to and (b) subsequently allocated to rail freight interchange projects through the Sustainable Distribution Fund in each year since its inception. (290632)

The multi-modal Sustainable Distribution Fund (SDF) took effect from 1 April 2007. Although there have been a number of rail capital projects funded through SDF, the Department for Transport has not funded any rail freight interchange projects.

Freight Facilities Grants (FFGs) can help to fund the difference in cost between rail/water and road freight, but only where the environmental benefits can justify the support, there is a genuine financial need for grant and the provision of grant would not distort competition.

Competition in the rail freight intermodal business has been increasing with a number of terminal and freight hauliers now active in the market. As a result, in January 2008 the Department announced that it would no longer provide FFG funding for investment in intermodal terminals in the North West of England (Manchester, Liverpool and Widnes conurbations).