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LONDON- Usually the supply chain’s Cinderella, railfreight is to get a boostfrom four Prince Charmings. BAA Lynton; Burford Group; Helios Properties andProLogis have launched a new special interest group to accelerate thetransfer of long-distance freight from road to rail.

RailfreightInterchange Investment Group (RIIG) aims to promote greater investment inrailfreight interchanges and a more consistent planning policy thatrecognises their importance to the economy. The group is supported by othercompanies in the property and freight industries including occupiers.

Theaim of the group is two-fold: to promote the investment, employment andenvironmental benefits of railfreight interchanges, delivering the successof such developments across mainland Europe; and to seek a more constructiveapproach by Government planning policy towards railfreight interchanges, tomaximise the benefits to UK plc.

RIIG chairman and Helios Propertiesdirector Mike Hughes said: “The transfer of freight from road to rail issupported by the public, industry and Government alike. But in order toachieve its own 80% growth target for railfreight over the next decade,Government recognises that new interchanges will be required, where freightcan be transferred between trains, trucks and warehouses.”

Hughesbelieves the success of ‘freight villages’ is proven in continental Europe,where some handle more railfreight in a year than passes through the ChannelTunnel–each taking up to half a million lorry trips off the roads. Hesaid: “We are prepared to commit the necessary investment in developingsimilar interchanges on the UK rail network–industry sources suggest thecurrent proposals alone amount to £2 billion ($3.3 billion) ofinvestment–but not if this investment is then wasted on abortive schemesand drawn-out planning inquiries. The current planning process isfrustrating these efforts and the opportunities which could be created. Wehave therefore created this new group to focus on these issues and promote abalanced debate to issues and solutions.”

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