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EU Transport Chair to oppose mega trucks

6th November 2009


Brian Simpson, MEP for the North West and Chair of the European Parliament Transport Committee, will state his opposition to mega trucks at a Brussels reception he is hosting on the benefits of rail freight compared with mega trucks on Tuesday evening 10th November.

This event comes hard on the heels of a European Commission sponsored meeting of freight transport specialists in Brussels on Monday 9th November to decide the parameters for the next stage in the EC research into whether to amend the directive1 on dimensions and weights of heavy goods vehicles to allow cross border traffic of mega trucks between member states.

Brian Simpson, MEP Chair of the Transport Committee said, “The danger is that mega trucks could become travelling warehouses with the same amount of freight being carried further, resulting in more carbon emissions, more congestion and more exposure to road accidents as well as undermining the low carbon alternatives. The EC sponsored research has so far been too simplistic and in some cases mathematically incorrect, which has led to unsound conclusions.”

He added that, “If permission is granted for cross border traffic, mega trucks will come to all member states by default whether wanted or not.”


For further information please contact

Brian Simpson’s office on 0032 (0)228 45510
or
Philippa Edmunds Freight on Rail ++ 44 (0) 20 8241 9982 mob ++ 44 (0)79818 881410

Freight on Rail members are Direct Rail Services, DB Schenker, Freightliner, ASLEF, RMT, TSSA, UNITE, Rail Freight Group and Campaign for Better Transport


Notes to editors

Reception 7-8pm room A1G-2 European Parliament (ASP) Brussels.

Mr Antonio Preto, Head of cabinet of Vice President Antonio Tajani, in charge of Transport, will make a statement at the beginning of the reception.

Speakers at the reception are
Stephen Joseph, Executive Director, Campaign for Better Transport/Chair of Freight on Rail
Sabine Trier, Deputy General Secretary of European Transport Federation (ETF)
Matthias Knobloch, Secretary General European Automobile Club
Rainer Mertel, Head of Marketing Kombiverkehr

There will be a Questions and Answers session after the speeches

If you would like to attend, please get in touch asap if you do not have a European Parliamentary pass so that one can be organised with Brian Simpson’s office.

  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 at 25 metres long and capable of carrying 60 tonnes, are using the same flawed arguments again. These vehicles would be 50% longer and a third heavier than existing HGVs.
  2. Rail freight reduces road congestion with the heaviest bulk cargo trains in ht UK equal to 160 HGVs. Source Network Rail.
  3. Using rail freight produces 70% less CO2 emissions than the equivalent road journey Source DFT Logistics Perspective Dec 2008 P8 section 10
  4. 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.


1. Directive 96/53/EC on the dimensions and weights of HGVs


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