LETTER: The true cost of lorry travel

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Sir: It is a pity that Geoff Dossetter, of the Freight Transport Association, skated so lightly over the cost to the country of lorry travel (Letters, 6 April).

His statement, "lorries pay taxes well in excess of their road-wear costs", hides more than it reveals. In fact, as recent work by David Pearce has shown, the true costs of lorry travel are very high. If the pollution, congestion, noise and deaths and serious injuries caused by heavy lorries are given a monetary value, they come nowhere near to paying their way.

Indeed, another study, A New Framework for Freight Transport, published by the Civic Trust, found that if heavy lorries were to pay their way, there would be such a substantial switch of freight to the railways that they would be able to run their freight trains, at profit, without receiving any subsidy from the Government. That is the environmentally-friendly and economically-sensible way forward.

John Stewart

Chair, Alarm UK

London E3