04 January 2001
The government's announcement of the biggest programme of road-building since Labour came to power in 1997 has been slammed as "another nail in rail freight's coffin" by the Freight Transport Association.
While the FTA welcomed the increased investment - about half of the £8.4 billion local transport plan - which includes 40 new road schemes over five years, it expressed concern that more money was not being pumped into rail transport.
"This government has talked about the benefits of rail freight but has done little to make it attractive, instead pouring money into road and canal schemes," said an FTA spokesman.
The rail freight industry is still reeling from speed restrictions after October's Hatfield derailment and the severe flooding and gales that blocked rail lines nationwide. Several rail-freight firms lost contracts as clients opted for road or air freight.