LETTER : Taxes well spent on roads

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The Independent Online
Sir: Emma Must of Transport 2000 looks for curbs on lorries (Letters, 31 March).

Lorries formed only a small part of the Government's need to create a 15-year programme to repair and reinforce bridges. The general increase in road traffic, age-related decay and continuous underspending on infrastructure all contributed to make it necessary. Certainly by 1999 we need to strengthen some bridges to accommodate the 40-tonne vehicles used throughout the rest of Europe. But we will enjoy both economic and environmental benefits.

Obviously, heavy lorries create more road wear than cars. But so what? All types and weights of lorries pay taxes well in excess of their road wear costs.

Britain has the benefit of perhaps the most efficient freight transport industry in the world. Between 1968 and 1994 the number of lorries fell by 25 per cent while the average work done increased by 300 per cent, a remarkable record.

The UK spends a lower percentage of GDP on transport than almost every other country in Europe. Rather than plan against the lorry we should be planning for it to benefit both the economy and the environment. Almost everything that we use or consume is produced by a lorry journey and, for the vast majority of freight transport movements, there really is no sensible alternative.

Geoff Dossetter

Head of Media Relations

The Freight Transport

Association

Tunbridge Wells, Kent

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