Thursday, February 18, 2010

Extra Road Tolls For Trucks Riles Freight Transport Group

M6 Charges Set to Increase
Shipping News Feature

UK – At a time when shipping is at its lowest ebb the cost of using the M6 toll section is about to increase. On 1st March there will be a rise of over 6% taking the fee for using the stretch to £10 for an HGV. The move has come in for severe criticism from truck and road transport bodies, not least the Freight Transport Association (FTA) who are incensed by the move.

The move is particularly galling as the £700 million road is so little used, entirely due to the fact that charges are considered unreasonable already by the majority of truck owners. Traffic levels on the stretch have decreased steadily as the recession grew worse with all freight companies necessarily watching the pennies.

Stephen Kelly, FTA’s Head of Policy for the Midlands, said:

“It is, frankly, hard to swallow the argument that this extra revenue will be ploughed into major improvements – what is the point of investing in a road which nobody can afford to use? Extra toll costs are the last thing the commercial vehicle sector needs, but by effectively closing the gate to this vital corridor for so many hauliers we are in danger of not realising the economic and environmental benefits that this road was built for in the first place.”

He went on to point out that for most hauliers the decision to divert off onto the toll route was “a last minute distress purchase” based upon the degree of congestion on the main M6. With driving times so crucial to the bigger vehicles and the need to obey tachograph restraints drivers often feel they are in a no win situation. Rather than pay the fees truck drivers will only use the route as a very last resort and instead stay caught in the inevitable queues simply pumping out more needless emissions.