Cash boost for green freight programme

A government scheme designed to help Britain’s freight industry cut emissions and reduce costs is to receive an additional £67m in funding.

The additional money for the Sustainable Distribution Fund, which focuses on reducing the number of large freight vehicles on the roads, will be targeted at increasing the use of rail and water transport.

SDF operates a number of programmes that aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, accidents, congestion, noise and pollution associated with the transport of goods. One that will benefit from the new money is Freight Best Practice, whose funding increases from £1.2 million to £1.5 million a year.

Funded by the Department for Transport, Freight Best Practice provides free information to help operators improve operational efficiency by providing a range of free guides, case studies, newsletters, videos and software. These cover issues such as saving fuel, developing skills, equipment and systems, operational efficiency and performance management.

A similar scheme for smaller vehicles, Van Best Practice, will see its funding double from £300,000 this year to £600,000 in 2009. A new Van Best Practice programme will also be funded to 2011.

Also set to receive more money is Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving, which since it was launched in 2003 has given around 12,000 truck drivers and 8,000 van drivers training in how to save fuel and improve driving techniques. It focuses on simple measures, such as watching speeds, accelerating and braking more smoothly, and checking tyre pressures.

Transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick said that increasing the amount of freight transported by rail or water it will bring clear benefits for the economy, the environment and road users.

"We want to help hauliers and van drivers continue to improve their operational efficiency and reduce costs,” he said. “Freight Best Practice and smarter driving techniques have already helped companies make real savings. We are making these more widely available so that more businesses can benefit."

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