The Freight Transport Association awaits the Government's response to a Parliamentary Question on Tuesday (22 April) asking the Secretary of State for Transport whether she will make a statement regarding any plans to permit the use of longer, heavier vehicles on some roads.
FTA says that the Government should authorise trials of longer, heavier vehicles in order to ascertain the prospective benefits to the economy and the environment of such vehicles. In a letter to Secretary of State Ruth Kelly at the end of February, FTA Chief Executive Theo de Pencier said, 'FTA recognises the impact higher capacity goods vehicles could have on the rail freight market, but the opportunities to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions by up to 30 per cent and mileage reductions of up to 50 per cent from existing road based movements mean that these fears alone should not be the basis for dismissing out of hand such a significant means of savings.
'I hope that in publishing the report you will provide for a fuller evaluation of the costs and benefits of these vehicles, as other EU governments have felt confident to do, and allow a wider collaborative effort of all stakeholders to find ways of realising the benefits without threatening sensitive markets or vulnerable road users. Given the challenges you have set the supply chain sector, we deserve that opportunity.'
A Government commissioned report on the issue was originally anticipated to be published last October but has yet to appear.
The Freight Transport Association represents the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air. FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles – almost half the UK fleet. In addition they consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and over 70 per cent of sea and air freight. FTA's website can be found at www.fta.co.uk