Letter: Time to curb heavy lorries

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Sir: With the programme of repair and reinforcement of Britain's road bridges now dangerously behind schedule ("Britain's bridges set to fail 40 tonne lorry limit", 27 March), now is the time to tackle the problem at source by restricting the lorries that damage the bridges.

The heaviest lorries do tens of thousands of times more damage than cars. Figures published by the Civic Trust show that whereas the weight on each axle of a fully loaded car is about half a ton, a fully loaded 16-ton rigid lorry is likely to have a load of six tons on one axle and ten tons on the other. It follows from a piece of mathematics called the "fourth power law" that if lorry and car were driven along the same stretch of road, the lorry would do 90,368 times more damage.

The Highways Agency must seize this opportunity to confine the heaviest lorries to a limited network of motorways and industrial roads - removing the need to strengthen bridges and keeping large lorries out of our towns and villages.

Emma Must

Roads Controller

Transport 2000

London NW1