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Volume 31: debated on Thursday 4 November 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends to bring forward a comprehensive package of measures relating to lorries, people and the environment.

We have developed for the first time a comprehensive package of measures to place more effective controls on heavy lorry traffic throughout the country, and to make lorries less objectionable to people and less damaging to the environment. These include more new roads and bypasses, to relieve communities of traffic; regulations to make lorries safer and quieter; more controls on the routes that lorries take and on where they park; special assistance for areas most severly affected by lorries; more attractive grants to encourage freight shipment by rail and inland waterways; and tighter enforcement of standards.

The Government will not permit any increase in the size of articulated lorry trailers. They will be subject to new length and height restrictions and to existing restrictions on width. While no lorries will be permitted which will be any larger—in any dimension—than those already in use on our roads, fuller lorry loads will be permitted so as to obtain full economic benefits, to create jobs but also to keep lorry journeys to a minimum. The maximum permitted weight of articulated lorries will therefore be set at 38 tonnes, subject to their having five axles. There will be no other increase in lorry weights. This will ensure that no new type of lorry will cause more road damage than present permitted maximum weight lorries and that overall there will be a reduction in road damage. The new tax structure introduced in October provides a basis for taxing new lorries in line with their share of road track costs.

I have placed in the Vote Office copies of a memorandum describing these measures in detail. The necessary regulations on lorry safety, dimensions and weights will be laid very shortly. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will shortly be making statutory rules to apply these provisions in Northern Ireland.

These measures represent the first attempt to tackle comprehensively the problems which lorries cause. and to reconcile the needs of our economy with those of people and the environment.