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Tell your MEPs that the UK does not want mega trucks imposed by the European Commission
 

Please take the opportunity to ask your local MEPs across the different parties, what their position is on mega trucks, (25 metres long and 60 tonnes weight) which are in danger of being imposed on the UK by EU bureaucrats using unsound biased research.

Last year Freight on Rail proved that the European Commission research on mega trucks was flawed and distorted the argument in favour of mega trucks. Freight on Rail uncovered fundamental mathematical errors, which totally undermined the case for mega trucks so now the Commission is undertaking more research which we are monitoring. Early analysis of which is not encouraging so we urge you to write to your MEP to voice your concern.  

These basic errors in the previous research destroyed the case for mega trucks as the justification for mega trucks, which the consultants themselves state are individually more dangerous than a standard HGV, relies on a significant reduction in lorry miles, which we have exposed as unfounded.

These attempts to steam roller through mega trucks across Europe make it even more important that you state your opposition to mega trucks to your MEPs and get their support.

Freight on Rail welcomed the Government’s decision in June 2008 to reject trials of 60-tonne 25.5 metre lorries on UK roads. However, if the European Parliament allows longer heavier lorries to travel across member states, it will mean that LHVs would come to the UK by default. Even the European Commission’s own research concluded that LHVs were individually more dangerous than standard HGVs and would have a detrimental effect on rail freight.
 

Dear  MEP

The European Commission is currently evaluating whether to allow longer heaver lorries,(25 metres long  and 60 tonnes weight) across Europe

Freight on Rail welcomed the Government’s decision in June 2008 to reject trials of 60-tonne 25.5 metre lorries on UK roads. However, if the European Parliament allows longer heavier lorries to travel across member states, it will mean that LHVs would come to the UK by default. Even the European Commission’s own research concluded that LHVs were individually more dangerous than standard HGVs and would have a detrimental effect on rail freight.

Question: Do you oppose the introduction of mega trucks across Europe?
Yes No

 
Freight on Rail believes that these vehicles, which would be fifty per cent longer and a third heavier than existing HGVs, would have terrible economic, environmental and safety implications and are not the right freight transport solution for a number of key reasons which are fully explained below. Please lobby the Transport Commissioner to oppose mega trucks. 

  1. Previous increases in lorry dimensions have resulted in more lorries driving around less full, causing more road congestion and more pollution, which is the reverse of what was claimed would happen. The proponents of mega trucks are using the same flawed arguments again.
     
  2. In the UK mega trucks would destroy the entire intermodal rail market (ie containers) and 50% of bulk traffic forcing the traffic back onto congested roads. In continental Europe  combined transport would loose 50% of current market which is about 18 million TEU per annum, which would return to the roads across Europe resulting in 9 million extra long distance lorry journeys averaging 800 kms each. A scenario  with  25 metres 40 tonnes would be almost as bad as rail would loose 40% of current market. Mega trucks would also jeopardise forecasted doubling of market share between 2005-20.

    EU research admits that mega trucks would have a detrimental effect on rail freight.
    Source JRC LHVs  freight transport 06/2009 P2
     
  3. Mega trucks have dangers of their own due to their size and lack of manoeuvrability
    The European Commission's own research in Jan 2009 stated that mega trucks are individually more dangerous than standard HGVs. – TML Effects of adapting the rules on weights and dimensions of HGVs  as established within directive 96/53/EC P14 penultimate line 6 November 2008 DGTREN website
    Rail freight is safer than long-distance road freight using motorway and A roads, as HGVs are over 3 times more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than cars due to a combination of size, lack of proper enforcement of drivers hours, vehicle overloading and differing foreign operating standards. Source: Road Statistics 2008, Tables 3.2 and 3.6, Road Freight Statistics 2008 Section 5, both UK Department for Transport
    Mega Tucks have the potential to be considerably more dangerous to road users. A 60 tonne mega truck travelling at 80 km/h possesses almost the same momentum as a 40 tonne HGV moving at 100 km/h, with a correspondingly longer breaking distance.

    The double articulation of a mega trucks improves manoeuvrability at slow speeds, but increases side to side oscillation ie a “snake” (rear amplication) and problems with other manoeuvres at crusing speeds, for example changing lane on a dual carriageway. Overall weight and length increases would increase the forces involved and thus the strength of these outswinging movements.
     
  4. Road haulage industry has a poor record in complying with existing road regulations
    Over 82% of HGVs exceeded their speed limit of 50 mph on dual carriageways and almost three-quarters exceeded the 40 mph limit on single carriageway non-built up roads in 2007.
    VOSA spot checks in October 2008 found that half of UK registered HGVs stopped were breaking the law. International Freighting Weekly  21st October 2008.
     
  5. Rail freight has a much better environmental record than road and produces 70% less Co2 emissions than road for the equivalent journey. DfT Logistics Perspective Dec08 P8 section10.
     
  6. Mega trucks will have minimal impact on road congestion as it would be more difficult for them to negotiate traffic, whereas an average freight train which is designed for heavy and bulky cargoes, can remove 50 HGVs from our roads Network Rail 2008.
     
  7. Trying to restrict mega trucks to dual-carriageways and motorways simply will not work
    The promoters are claiming that these vehicles will be restricted to motorways, dual carriageways and major roads, but there is no mechanism available to keep them to this and the reality is that these vehicles will need local access to distribution hubs off motorways/dual carriageways.  
     
  8. Even existing HGVs are up to 160,000 times more damaging to road surfaces than the average car; some of the heaviest road repair costs are therefore almost exclusively attributable to the heaviest vehicles.
     
  9. The claimed environmental benefits of mega trucks rely on very high levels of load utilisation – in excess of that routinely achieved within the haulage sector.  Therefore at lower levels of utilisation, the environmental performance of mega trucks  would be worse. Currently on average over a quarter of lorries are driving around empty. 
     
  10. Lower road haulage costs will increase lorry miles with mega trucks becoming travelling warehouses. Mega trucks would mean more lorry-miles not fewer because demand will be stimulated as mega trucks could reduce road haulage costs by up to 20% according to the freight industry. Distribution centres are likely to be rationalised, saving on real estate costs, with lorry tonne kilometres increasing as the same freight is carried further.  

 

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