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Transport: Heavy Goods Vehicles

Volume 687: debated on Wednesday 6 December 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 27 November (WA 28), what recent studies they have carried out of the costs associated with the use of heavy goods vehicles on the road network; and what were the results of these studies. [HL417]

In terms of a comprehensive and wide-ranging measurement of the relative external costs of heavy goods vehicles on roads when compared to other modes, the Department for Transport and the devolved Administrations in Scotland and Wales use a measure called “sensitive lorry miles”. The current values for “sensitive lorry miles” have been in use since May 2003 and were based on a wide range of detailed research that was available at the time. This potentially gives the most complete view of the impacts of the external costs imposed by HGVs. Further information is available on the department's website at 039741.pdf.

Other government studies have covered individual components within the valuations, such as the recent Stern report. Defra also recently published research into food miles and sustainability using various data sources to indicate the external costs of the different modes along food supply chains. The Defra report is available at