Campaign For Better Transport)
HGVs are still only paying a third of the costs they impose on the economy and society in terms of road congestion, road crashes, road damage and pollution costs. This means HGVs are being subsidised by the taxpayer to the tune of £6 billion a year.
These figures come from a report carried out by the Metropolitan Transport Research Unit (MTRU) for Campaign for Better Transport this year, using Government figures.
Looking just at road damage such as potholes, HGVs only cover 11 per cent of their road infrastructure costs, despite what the Freight Transport Association claims. Lorries cause far more damage to foundations and structures of roads than cars because the damaging power rises exponentially as weight increases, known as the Generalised Fourth Power Law.
The standard 44 tonne HGV, which is the industry workhorse, causes 136,000 times more damage to road infrastructure than a Ford Focus. (In comparison a much smaller and lighter 7.5 tonne lorry is 3,000 times more damaging than a Ford Focus and yet there is no differentiation in the charging of differing lorry weights).
The criticism comes at the time that the ALARM Survey, the annual road condition survey published by the Asphalt Industries Association, found more than 24,000 miles of local/urban road has been identified as needing essential maintenance within the next year.
Local/urban roads, which make up 98 per cent of roads, are not designed to take the volume of these large lorries, so the poor state of repair on these local and urban roads is no coincidence. And yet the road haulage industry is saying that their lorries are being damaged by the existing poor state of local roads for which they are largely responsible!
Motorways are built to a higher specification to cater for larger amounts of heavy lorry traffic.
Freight Transport Association report is flawed
Heavy Goods Vehicles: Do they pay their way? – impacts on road surfaces was produced by RepGraph for the Freight Transport Association. This report claimed that HGVs pay three times more than their estimated damage costs to infrastructure. But our analysis shows that the report is flawed, based on out-of-date figures and incorrect assumptions, and in fact HGVs only cover 11 per cent of their road damage costs.