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GRANT SAVES FREIGHT FOR THAMES

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The south east's road network will be spared an additional 12,000 ...
The south east's road network will be spared an additional 12,000

lorry journeys in the next two years following the purchase of a

Thames-going vessel officially named by shipping minister Glenda

Jackson.

The ship, the 390 tonne Peter Prior, was bought and refitted by its

owners, JJ Prior (Transport) Ltd of Colchester, with the help of a

freight facilities grant. It will enable the company to continue

transporting sand from Essex to wharves on the Thames.

Freight facilities grants are designed to encourage companies to take

heavy lorries off roads by helping them to invest in rail or inland

waterway freight facilities.

Speaking at the naming ceremony in Greenwich, Ms Jackson said:

'It is one of our primary objectives to encourage the use

of alternative forms of transport to ease congestion on the road

network and to protect the local environment. However, we are only

too aware of the higher costs that can be associated with inland

waterways freight transport.

'Freight facilities grants help to alleviate these costs by tipping the balance in favour of water.

'The grant makes inland waterway transport more attractive

to industry, enabling it to compete more effectively with road

transport and allows businesses to choose alternatives to

transporting freight by road.

'We are keen to encourage the type of environment in which

a sustainable mode of transport like shipping can flourish. Indeed,

we want shipping to play a full part in an integrated transport

strategy and intend to set out the framework of our policy in the

Integrated Transport White Paper which we will be publishing soon.

'Equally, we want to see the River Thames properly

integrated into London's transport system and that's why, under our

proposals for a mayor and assembly for London, the Greater London

Authority will have a duty to produce an integrated tranpsort

strategy for the capital and to promote the use of the Thames for

both freight and passenger transport.'

NOTES

1. Freight Facilities Grants (FFGs) were introduced in 1974 and were

extended to inland waterways in 1981. Since their introduction, FFGs

approaching£200m have helped to take more than four million

lorry journeys off the roads.

2. Ten inland waterway grants have been made since 1981, worth a total of£2.2m.

3. In 1998-99, the government is making£40m available to companies interested in freght grants, a£10m (33%) increase over last year.

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