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Banning heavy lorries in city centres could increase pollution eight-fold, warns Cap

Calls to ban heavy lorries in city centres could be misguided, warns Cap. 

"Society’s demand for material goods, fuelled by internet purchases that must be delivered in the shortest possible time, has seen an increase in freight on the UK’s roads. It’s easy to assume that the more freight, the bigger the vehicles, but with delivery times shortening, more and more light commercials are being acquired, increasing congestion and pollution", explained John Watts, senior editor commercial vehicles and motorcycles for Cap.

“The reality of getting our ‘stuff’ from somewhere online to our homes is that more goods are behind shipped by commercial vehicles that reduce in size, as the distance to the final delivery point shortens,” John Watts comments. “Rather than one long trailer, we have several smaller vehicles, taking up more road space, increasing congestion, slowing traffic and resulting in increased idling times for older, more polluting engines.

“In addition, any plans to ban heavy vehicles in town centres, unless they are powered by alternative fuels, gives no consideration to the environmental costs associated with warehouse construction, vehicle production, alternative fuel production and other factors. In the UK the vast majority of production of all fuel types is carbon-based, with its well-documented contribution to global warming.”

Watts concluded, “According to our figures, pollution could increase by as much as eight times, if city centres decide to ban heavy goods vehicles. In addition, there would be a huge increase in costs to get extra drivers for forklifts, more warehouse staff and extra vehicles. If alternative fuels were used, there would need to be an infrastructure to support it, as well as sufficient parking space to store vehicles not in use.

“This is a laudable principle, but the issues caused by banning lorries, could outweigh any potential benefits. The danger is, we implement schemes that don’t actually reduce pollution and congestion, they simply move them elsewhere.”

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  • Derek Webb - 21/01/2016 19:51

    I absolutely and utterly disagree with the basis of this article, how absurd to think that the congestion would increase if HGV's were banned from Cities. HGV,s have been allowed to travel anywhere on UK roads, with barely any restrictions their size, as a result we have 12 wheeler trucks delivering shoe box sized item to towns and cities using (and destroying) roads that are simply not big enough to take them. In most cities and towns 12 wheelers can't get round many corners; they mess about reversing or driving over corners causing tick-over pollution, conjestion and frayed tempers. Unfortunately anyone that thinks that this ban will materialist think again. The Ministry of Transport condoned a 10 year "trial" of even longer trailers and 1800 licences for these monster trailers have been granted on the pretext that over 100,000 tones of CO2 would be the saving - what a load of nonsense in my opinion - but the transport industry got it. The trucks on our roads, both uk and from all around the continent cause untold damage to our roads and our well-being but the "power" behind this industry is very difficult for us the combat - carry on trucking.

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