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NEW CRANE WILL GET FREIGHT OFF LONDON'S ROADS

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A new crane, operated by Ready Mixed Concrete (London) Ltd at ...
A new crane, operated by Ready Mixed Concrete (London) Ltd at

Comley's Wharf in Fulham, which will play its part in getting lorries

off London's congested roads and freight traffic on to the Thames was

opened today by transport minister Glenda Jackson. The crane was

government grant-funded under the Freight Facilities Grants scheme.

Ms Jackson said:

'The department has awarded a grant of£118,500 towards the cost

of this equipment. Just one example of our commitment to move

freight off our roads and onto rail and inland waterways. More

generally we want to revitalise the Thames as a transport artery and

as a focus for London life.

'Ultimately, businesses such as Ready Mixed Concrete will only

move away from road transport if it makes commercial sense to do so.

That is exactly what has happened in this case - a freight facilities

grant has made water transport the best environmental and the best

commercial option.'

Commenting on the need to protect the capital's remaining wharves

against development pressures, Glenda Jackson said:

'We are continuing the policy of protecting a number of strategic

working wharves - of which this is one example - to ensure that the

Thames continues to have sufficient capacity to handle increasing

levels of freight and can remain a working river as well as a place

for leisure and recreation.'

NOTES

1. Two grants are available under the Freight Grants Scheme. The

Freight Facilities Grant is available towards the cost of rail and

inland waterway facilities or equipment in cases where the freight

would otherwise go by road. Track Access Grants help defray the costs

to rail freight operators of access to the rail network. Both grants

are given in recognition of the environmental and wider benefits

which removing lorry traffic from roads can bring.

2. Since 1975 over 250 grants have been awarded throughout Britain.

It is estimated that thesegrants, worth approaching£200m, have

removed nearly five million lorry journeys from Britain's roads. The

amount available for such grants has increased by a third this year

to£40m.

3. On October 14, the department announced the award of 16 new rail

freight grants worth a total of over£9m.

4. According to Waterborne Freight in the United Kingdom 1997,

published todayby DETR, the volume of goods moved on inland waterways

increased by three per cent in 1997. The toal tonnage carried in 1997

also rose, by two per cent. The report presents statistics of freight

traffic moved within the United Kingdom by water transport in 1997.

The statistics cover traffic carried by both inland craft (barges)

and seagoing vessels along the inland waterway system and around the

coast of the United Kingdom.

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