Sunday, September 26, 2010

Road Freight Representatives Condemn Possible Law Change

Lorry Heights Irrelevant in the UK Market
Shipping News Feature

UK – EU – Road haulage representatives in Britain were unanimous in their condemnation of draft legislation to be considered in Brussels which they believe would cause significant damage to Britain’s road freight industry. At a time when hauliers are being encouraged to introduce greener policies and reduce road miles the proposal, to limit trailer height to four metres, they consider a step backwards.

The Road Haulage Association was scathing in its criticism, pointing out likely outcomes of reducing acceptable height limits such as increased CO2 emissions coupled with more trucks on the road and increasing congestion, undermining of the significant investments made by many of its members and trailer manufacturing in the UK being damaged.

The RHA believe also that the cost to consumers would rise due to the smaller cargo levels carried and their Director of Policy Jack Semple outlined the Associations view saying:

“Brussels proposes to limit the height of all lorries to 4 metres, as part of a process of making every country do exactly the same thing regardless of its circumstances. The draft proposal has emerged from no-where to be slipped into a Type Approval Regulation - aimed at simplifying the rules and improving vehicle standards - late in a process that has been ongoing for several years.

“We couldn’t quite believe it when we saw it in a confidential draft a few weeks ago; that perhaps the Commission didn’t realise the implications of its proposals. But there are worrying signs that it may have known exactly what it was doing all along. The document has now been made public.

“We are seeking further clarifications from Brussels. But if they intend to pursue this idea, which is completely unjustified, un-costed and unacceptable, we will oppose it as strongly as we can and we will be calling on the Coalition government to do the same.”

UK trailers typically run at heights significantly greater than 4 metres because they can operate safely on the road network and allow operators to have two load decks instead of one – effectively, to put two trailer-loads on a single trailer of the same length. Such designs are commonly used in the distribution of parcels and of palletised traffic, and are particularly noticeable on the motorways at night, significantly reducing day-time congestion.

The vehicles are the product of innovative UK engineering and operating patterns and they have contributed to keeping down the cost of distribution and to carbon reduction targets. The designs are unique to the UK and have helped to sustain a progressive trailer manufacturing industry.