Use Euro-election for mega-truck campaign, urges GS

28 May 2009

General Secretary Keith Norman has urged ASLEF members to seek assurances about mega-trucks from candidates standing for MEP posts in the 4 June European elections.

 

Keith wants members to ask MEP candidates if they will oppose the introduction of mega-trucks (25 metres long and weighing 60 tonnes) which are environmentally unfriendly, add to congestion, threaten safety and could decimate rail freight.

 

‘I am urging members to contact candidates to seek their views on this issue before voting on 4 June,’ Keith says.

 

The union is concerned that middle-ranking European Commission officials are trying to foist mega-trucks onto European roads.

 

‘Along with Freight on Rail, we believe that there are fundamental errors in the research which is being used to justify having these monsters on our roads. Research by Joint Research Centre (JRC) which the Commission issued on 19 May simply repeats the errors of previous EC studies – and deals with none of the criticisms.

 

‘The only area we agree with the researchers is their admission that mega trucks would have a detrimental effect on rail freight, which is the low carbon, energy-efficient alternative.’

 

Freight on Rail has uncovered fundamental mathematical errors in the JRC research, which even its own consultants conceded at the time. These errors, which the union says destroys the case for mega trucks, have been ignored in the most recent research. In essence the JRC research suggests that trucks 50% longer and a third heavier than existing trucks would deliver a significant reduction in vehicle kilometres. Freight on Rail showed this to have been incorrectly calculated.

 

The UK government rejected trials of these monster trucks in June last year, but there remains the possibility that they could be allowed under European legislation – which is why ASLEF is calling on members to lobby MEP candidates.

Freight on Rail’s ‘No Mega Truck’ website is at http://www.freightonrail.org.uk/NoMegaTrucks.htm. It provides a list of MEP candidates and details on how you can help the campaign.

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