10 May 2023
RMT Press Office:
LOGISTICS UNION RMT slammed the government over plans to permit longer lorries to travel on UK roads despite the climate emergency and the managed decline of rail. There have also been widespread warnings that the move will increase the number of fatal road accidents.
Under government plans the lorries will be a maximum of 2.05 metres longer than the current standard sized trailer meaning lorries over 18.5 metres in length.
The longer lorries have been trialled since 2011 and there are about 3,000 already on the roads, but from May 31 any business in England, Scotland or Wales will be able to use them.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that it was completely baffling that the government had made the announcement on longer lorries despite the fact that the climate emergency was accelerating and the increasingly obvious managed decline of the rail including the freight sector.
“Rail freight is the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way to move freight but instead over recent years what we are seeing on our railways is cutting investment, slashing services and staff numbers, scrapping and downgrading vital infrastructure projects and rewarding failed private train operators with lucrative contract extensions.
“If this government was serious about tackling the climate emergency, they would recognise the critical importance of rail freight to reducing carbon emissions and commit to a historic mass investment in this sector to ensure the UK meets its legally binding climate targets,” he said.