Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Road Haulage Body Defends Freight Truck Operators

Criticises Local Authorities for Failing in Responsibilities
Shipping News Feature
UK – The body that represents the interests of road hauliers has fiercely criticised local government authorities for failing to maintain British roads to a decent standard and instead blaming the erosion of road surfaces on heavy use by trucks carrying freight. In a statement the Road Haulage Association (RHA) said that road freight had been made the scape goat of ‘decades of under-investment in road maintenance by infrastructure providers.’ The RHA’s chief executive Richard Burnett said:

“Many of our worst roads have little or no HGV traffic while many of the best are used by HGVs all the time. Local authorities have failed to maintain their infrastructure. Maintain roads properly and repair them after the installation of pipes and cables, and there will be little problem with pot-holes. Failure to do so will see problems multiply, along with the cost of repair and associated congestion. However, where additional wear and tear is as a result of overloaded vehicles, the RHA strongly supports effective enforcement.”

“Road hauliers move 85% of the UK economy, delivering food, clothing, houses and jobs. The roads are their main place of work and the industry is doing its job. We expect infrastructure providers, working with central government, to get their act together and do theirs”.

The RHA points out that most EU countries have far better road surfaces and maintenance than is generally the norm in the UK despite the fact that the continental road network is heavily used as the primary freight artery for much of Europe. The fact that increasing numbers of 60-tonne trucks are now using the road network on the continent has not led to a sudden degradation in the road structure there. Burnett continued:

“Our lorries now are no more damaging to our roads than they have been for many years, in fact quite the opposite. However, the damage to vehicle suspensions and tyres as a result of poorly maintained roads costs the haulage operator thousands of pounds each year”.

According to one organisation, potholes.co.uk, set up to help British motorists claim for damage to their vehicles caused by poorly maintained roads, damage to vehicles caused by bad road surfaces costs motorists an estimated £730 million every year. Road maintenance in England and Wales is underfunded by £1 billion every year and at current maintenance levels, the average frequency for a road to be resurfaced in England is once every 54 years. In Wales it is once every 107 years. If all authorities were given the budgets they need to fix their roads, it would take English authorities 12 years to catch up with the current backlog, and Welsh authorities 14 years.