THE COMMISSION for Integrated Transport this week urged Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to allow heavier freight lorries on to Britain's roads.
An interim report, issued by the CfIT at Prescott's request, claims that raising the current 41 tonne maximum to 44 tonnes could cut congestion by taking 6,500 lorries off the roads.
The proposals could also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 100,000 tonnes per year, says the report, if the heavier lorries met emission standards.
However, the CfIT also recommended the introduction of tougher new enforcement checks on illegal or overweight lorries. It also asked the shadow Strategic Rail Authority (sSRA) to re-examine the case for increasing the amount of freight carried on the railways. The sSRA will make proposals within six months so CfIT can produce a final report for the Government.
The Rail Freight Group Chairman Lord Tony Berkeley confirmed it was vital to offset the impact of increased road traffic. 'If 44 tonne lorries are introduced, it is essential the Government accepts the CfIT's recom- mendations in full,' he said.