To ask the Minister for Transport if he will consider either the provision of a regulator for the rail freight sector or the seeking of tenders for an operator from the private sector to operate the service for a number of years.
- Paul Connaughton. (Nominated by: Olivia Mitchell).
For ORAL answer on Thursday, 28th September, 2006.
Ref No: 29700/06 Lottery: 62
Answered by the Minister for Transport
The European Communities (Access to Railway Infrastructure) (Amendment) Regulations, 2005 (S.I. 780 of 2005), transposes Directive 2004/51/EC on the development of the Community's Railways. In line with developments across the EU, these Regulations allow for the opening of the freight market to competition from 1 January 2006, in the case of international freight, and from 1 January 2007 for domestic freight operations. The rail freight industry across the EU is aware of these developments.
I have said on a number of occasions that I welcome the development of a liberalised rail freight market and I am open to considering proposals from interested parties on any innovative or new approaches to rail freight which offer value for money, where a real and tangible return on Exchequer investment can be demonstrated. However, no formal applications have been received in my Department for a railway undertaking licence or for track access.
I have no proposals for the provision of a regulator for the rail sector.