75 percent opposed to road trains says poll

26 September 2007

A National Opinion Poll (NOP) survey shows that 75% of the general public is opposed to the introduction of ‘road trains’ - known as LHVs - onto UK roads. The survey further revealed that 80% of the general public favoured the government encouraging more freight to go by rail instead of by road.


Freight on Rail - a partnership of rail unions, rail freight companies and the Campaign for Better Transport – says the survey ‘illustrates widespread public disapproval of government plans to consider allowing ‘road trains’ onto UK roads’. Details of the results will be released at 0930 on 25 September at the Trouville Hotel, Bournemouth.


The Department for Transport is considering allowing trials of trucks between 25.5 and 30 metres long which weight between 60 and 84 tonnes onto UK roads. The department is said to ‘favour’ a 60-tonne 25.25-metre truck - which is 50% longer and over a third heavier than existing 44 tonne lorries!


The widest range of rail freight stakeholders - employers, unions, transport and environmental groups - will reveal the NOP survey results and distribute leaflets to Conference delegates warning of the threats posed by LHVs. They will ask delegates to join the campaign against ‘road trains’ and lobby the government to encourage more freight to be carried by rail.


Freight on Rail Campaigner Philippa Edmunds, argues that more rail freight is much more positive than ‘road trains’ as it reduces carbon emissions and alleviates road congestion. However, she warns, ‘Rail freight could be halved over the next few years if the government allows these monstrosities onto our roads. If the government is genuinely committed to the environment and travel safety it will reject these trials.’


Tony Berkeley, Chairman of the Rail Freight Group, said it is no surprise that 75% of the public are opposed to longer and heavier lorries. ‘In part this is because the public doesn’t believe the government is serious about enforcing standards on UK roads, whilst at the same time it puts strong regulatory and safety rules on rail, where the safety record is already immeasurably better”.

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