The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has reacted with disappointment to the Local Government Association (LGA)’s claim that freight transport is responsible for the poor state of Britain’s roads.
Instead, the body has called on central government to reverse the downturn in spending on local infrastructure, which has caused a 14 year repairs backlog across the national road network.
“Freight levels on our roads are still not back to the pre-recession totals of 2006,” says Christopher Snelling, of the FTA, “so the LGA’s assertion that HGVs are solely responsible for the increased number of potholes on Britain’s roads is incorrect. It also indicates a clear lack of understanding of the impact of freight vehicles. Larger lorries do not cause increased damage to the road surface – in fact, they have more axles which spread payloads more evenly. When combined with road-friendly twin tyres and road-friendly suspension, this reduces the impact of road usage by lorries. Moving to a greater number of smaller vehicles would not ease the problem, but would simply compound the impact on an already weakened infrastructure.
Snelling went on: “For the LGA to make this sort of statement, instead of discussing the issue with the freight industry, is simply a cheap attempt to make headlines and pass over responsibility for an issue which sits in their remit. The real issue is the need for increased funding from central government to address the potholes problem nationwide. Local authorities are facing large bills – one off costs of approximately £69 million per council – to bring their roads up to a reasonable condition. If local authorities are not able to spend enough to do this now, then FTA wants to work with LGA in securing more support from national government to address the problem.
The FTA’s Mr Snelling added: “The transportation of essential goods on our roads is crucial to the continued health of the economy, and to claim that lorries are the cause of the potholes across the country is simply not true. We call on government to make a significant investment to ensure that British business can keep moving smoothly, without potholes.”