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Roads? No ta

Letters

The UK's roads take almost 90% of our surface freight, which is a major contributor to road congestion.

The economic, environment and social arguments show that a single train can haul the equivalent of 50 to 100 HGVs and that freight-hauled rail - per tonne - is two to four times more fuel efficient, and produces 80% less carbon dioxide than that carried on the roads. Rail is also 27 times safer.

The Nichols report's recommendation to establish a new directorate within the Department for Transport (NCE 22 March) to look at the merits of rail and road projects hardly provides a wow factor.

Does the Highways Agency in its use of COBA (cost-benefit analysis) when conceptualising schemes never look at alternative transport options?

What the UK needs is a series of strategically located roll-on/ roll-off terminals, for example in the South East to link with Ashford's terminal to Europe.

Right-thinking people will question how creating greater bureaucratic structures is going to deliver what society needs now. Or are we destined to witness ever more acres of our small island being covered with Tarmac.

Professor Albert Hamilton, bert. hamilton@btinternet.com

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