Sustainable Scotland: Highland spring water on track to reduce climate emissions

The move will see around 500 million liters of Highland Spring water transported by rail instead of truck each year, taking 8,000 vehicles off the road and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by around 3,200 tonnes per year.

The development is a major milestone for Highland Spring, the UK’s leading producer of natural spring water, enabling the company to transport goods sustainably and support its goal of becoming climate neutral by 2040 – five years from now. ahead of Scottish target and 10 years to UK deadline.

The new facility, adjacent to the company’s main bottling plant in Blackford, Perthshire, was planned 10 years ago and was delivered in partnership with Transport Scotland, Network Rail and the Scottish Government.

The support included a £4.47 million grant for freight facilities.

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It’s part of Highland Spring’s long-term strategy to invest in and develop innovative solutions to deliver healthy hydration in an environmentally sustainable way.

At least 40% of the water supplied by the Blackford plant will now be transported by rail.

A new rail freight depot has been set up at the Highland Spring water bottling plant in Perthshire.

Each train can carry the same load as 22 trucks, reducing the number of heavy goods vehicles passing through the village.

“Bringing the Highland Spring rail freight facility to the point of opening and operating has been a complex task and everyone involved should be extremely proud of their accomplishments,” Premier Nicola Sturgeon said.

“Rail freight is intrinsic to the Scottish economy, it supports the supply chain and serves a wide range of sectors, and is good for society and our environment.”

She added: “Removing over ten million miles of lorries from Scottish roads in the first ten years of operation will go a long way to improving the environment and the lives of people nearby, as well as helping the country in its together to reach net zero.

Premier Nicola Sturgeon has officially opened the new Highland Spring rail freight depot in Blackford, near Auchterarder. Supported by funding from the Scottish Government, it is the first such facility to be built in Scotland for over a decade. Photo: Nick Mailer

“I am convinced that other companies will now follow.”

Simon Oldham and Mark Steven, joint managing directors of Highland Spring Group, said environmental sustainability was “at the heart of the business” and that the rail freight facility is an essential part of both “commitment to fight against climate change and to be a considerate neighbor to the local community”.

Alex Hynes, Managing Director of Scotland’s Railway, hailed the project as “an exciting and significant milestone for rail freight in Scotland.

He said: “This is a great example of the public and private sectors working closely with government to tackle climate change head-on.

“To achieve net zero, we are working hard to ensure that rail freight becomes the primary logistics choice for businesses in Scotland by 2035.”