CSRF report findings challenged by leading transport group

Responding to the publication of research by the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (CSRF) recommending the introduction of larger, heavier lorries to reduce CO2 emissions from road freight, the Campaign for Better Transport has issued with its own report which challenges a number of the CSRF’s findings.

Campaign for Better Transport commissioned an independent researcher to examine the report’s findings and found that:
• The report’s conclusion that bigger trucks could significantly reduce road freight’s emissions by increasing payloads and reducing the number of empty lorries on the roads relies on old, flawed research when there is in fact no evidence that larger or heavier lorries reduce emissions
• The report underestimates by 50 per cent the potential to transfer freight to rail, which is hugely significant as rail freight produces 87 per cent less CO2 emissions than the equivalent road journey
• The report failed to look at how the increased cost to society of bigger heavier trucks would be met, currently only 30 per cent of the costs that heavy goods vehicles impose on society are met by the industry
• The report highlights the benefits of urban consolidation centres, but fails to recognise the benefits of rail connecting these centres so that long distance freight could be transferred directly from rail to last mile low emissions road vehicles

Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail manager at Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Reducing emissions from freight transport is key to addressing the UK’s climate change targets, so it is extremely disappointing that this research advocates even bigger, heavier lorries which emit more carbon dioxide and impose even greater costs on the taxpayer.

“In order to reduce emissions from freight we need to get lorries off the road and start moving more freight by rail.  We should also learn from the continent where distance-based charging systems and restrictions on what type of roads lorries can use and has helped to reduce emissions significantly.”

Campaign for Better Transport has written to the Climate Change Committee, which commissioned the research, to outline its concerns.