It will take 8,000 lorries off the road and cut CO2 emissions by more than 3,000 tonnes every year.
Scotland’s first dedicated rail freight facility in a decade has opened in Perthshire.
The hub, created by water company Highland Spring, is being hailed as an example other firms need to follow if Scotland is to become net zero by 2045.
Highland Spring bottles 500 million litres of water a year.
Until now, the firm has relied on a steady stream of lorries to transport the water.
The new freight facility will see 40% of deliveries shift from road to rail.
“This facility will enable us to transport our water in a sustainable way and support our ambition to reach net zero by 2040,” said Morwen Mands, Head of Sustainability at Highland Spring.
“This has been a huge undertaking, ten years in the making, but we’ve worked hard to future proof the facility for decades to come.”
Transport is the single biggest contributor to Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The Highland Spring facility at Blackford was created with the help of a £4.5million grant from the Scottish Government.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It’s going to help us reduce the carbon emissions from road transport. Over the next ten years, something like 10 million lorry miles will be taken away because more of the freight here will travel by rail so this will help us meet our net zero targets and help us make sure we are living up to our responsibility to tackle climate change.”
Fewer lorries will now trundle through the village of Blackford.
Built next to the production plant, the freight track connects into the main Perth to Stirling rail line.
It will remove 8,000 lorries from the road and reduce CO2 emissions by 3,200 tonnes every year.
Alex Hynes, ScotRail Managing Director said: “Every freight train that leaves here will take 22 HGV’s off the A9. We know that transport is the biggest emitter of carbon emissions in Scotland so this is a key part of our plan to decarboise the railway in Scotland for passengers and for freight.”
50 trains deliver goods across Scotland every day with a target to increase rail freight by 7.5%.
Highland Spring is just one company and many more businesses will need to get on board with rail freight to keep Scotland’s 2045 net zero target on track.
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