Budget should include distance-based lorry charging, says Campaign for Better Transport

Driver behind the wheel

The budget should include distance-based lorry charging to make road freight efficient, says the Campaign for Better Transport.

New Government figures show that road freight is inefficient with only 34% of HGVs fully loaded by volume and 30% travelling around completely empty.

The Campaign for Better Transport is calling for a distance based lorry charging system, in the budget, capable of measuring the actual impact lorries have on our roads.

A distance-based lorry charging system, instead of the existing old fashioned time-based system, would force the road haulage industry to be more efficient and thus reduce lorry miles, something which has not happened so far without financial incentives, it says.

Furthermore a distance based system could differentiate charging, based on vehicles’ pollution, to incentivise newer less polluting vehicles.

Recent research for Campaign for Better Transport showed that heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) are only paying around 30% of their costs in terms of road congestion, road fatalities and pollution. These conclusions are in line with two separate pieces of research.

Philippa Edmunds, freight on rail manager, said: “Currently, road haulage is very competitive but not efficient. Introducing distance-based lorry charging, which is common-place in most Western countries, will make road haulage more efficient and thereby reduce congestion, road fatalities, road damage and pollution as well as allowing sustainable modes to compete more fairly. For example, in Germany empty lorries have reduced from 29% to 18%.”

She added: “The latest FTA report, Do HGVs pay their way, issued this week, fails to even mention any of the congestion, collisions and pollution impacts of lorries. And yet the latest Government figures show that HGVs are almost seven times more likely than cars to be involved in fatal collisions on minor roads.

“In terms of road infrastructure damage, the standard 44 tonne 16.5 metre HGV, the industry workforce, is 136,000 times more damaging than a Ford Focus.”


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