Tesco has pledged to cut as many as 260 lorry journeys a week by moving heavy freight from road to rail, after its logistics firm received £435,000 of government funding.

The retailer will work with haulage firm Eddie Stobart to move Tesco containers between Daventry in Northamptonshire and Coatbridge in North Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Eddie Stobart has been granted £200,000 from the Scottish Executive Freight Facilities grant scheme for the initiative, while the Department for Transport is contributing £235,000 to the project.

A spokeswoman for Tesco said: "We are delighted to be using the railway to transport our products from Daventry to Coatbridge. It will help to free up the roads for other users."

Tavish Scott, Scottish transport minister, added: "It is hugely encouraging to see such major players as Tesco and Eddie Stobart working together to switch heavy freight from road to rail. It has state backing both north and south of the border."

Earlier this year Sainsbury said that it was switching some of its distribution - from its distribution centre in Rugby to its Langlands Park depot in Scotland - to rail (The Grocer, March 11, p12).

Meanwhile, the Freight Transport Association has criticised Transport for London's plans to create a London-wide Low Emission Zone, where, HGVs that enter London and fail to meet minimum pollution standards could be fined as much as £200 a day from 2008.

In its submission to Transport for London's consultation on the zone, the FTA proposed that the best way to implement the zone was to adopt a rolling age-based scheme for the industry, with a sector-specific age limit for HGVs, coaches and buses.