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Labour Shadow Transport Secretary attacks longer-semi trailers

Published to the CV Show website on
24/06/2011

Christopher Walton
Wednesday 22 June 2011 12:45

Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle says she is "appalled" at the prospect of longer HGVs being driven on roads in the UK, as the war of words against a proposed trial of longer semi-trailers heats up.

Yesterday the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) and Freight on Rail argued, as the Department for Transport consultation closed, that proposed plans to allow longer lorries on UK roads could lead to more road deaths and put small hauliers out of business.

Labour's Eagle says: "Communities up and down the country will be appalled at the thought of longer HGVs coming through their towns and villages. The DfT must come clean and publish its internal assessments of the impact longer HGVs will have on deaths and serious injuries, and potential increases in carbon emissions."

The consultation looked at the environmental benefits of increasing the total length for articulated lorries to 18.75m - the current maximum length for a drawbar unit - and did not make any plans to increase the maximum permitted GVW above the current 44-tonne limit.

Eagle adds: "We need a co-ordinated strategy to increase rail freight, not introduce policies that even the DfT admits would see rail lose 9.2m tonnes of freight by 2025. Ministers should rethink proposals for longer HGVs and instead bring forward a coherent strategy for shifting more freight onto our railways."

Simon Chapman, the Freight Transport Association's chief economist, responded to doubts about the safety of longer-semi trailers raised yesterday by CBT and Freight on Rail by saying: "Conceivably, high volume semi-trailers could also have a positive effect on road safety, with overall HGV mileage reduced and the potential for operators to specify the latest on-road safety technology and mirrors to vehicles."

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