25 August 2017
Campaigners respond to the Government’s announcement today on commissioning lorry platooning trials.
Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail Manager, Campaign for Better Transport said: “Lorry platooning, with driverless rear trucks, might cut costs for road hauliers but putting more freight on the railways would bring bigger and quicker reductions in congestion and pollution. Recent polling showed that almost two thirds of the public wanted to see more freight on the railways with only two per cent wanting to see more freight on the roads, while other polls have shown deep public suspicion of autonomous vehicles.
Philippa continued "As motoring groups have pointed out, there are many unresolved issues with lorry platooning on our congested road network. By contrast, our recent research shows that increased rail freight could make a real difference to congestion and pollution on some of the country's most overcrowded roads. We'd like the Government to give priority to increasing the use of sustainable freight modes and making more efficient use of existing trucks rather than new technology which, while technically interesting, is likely to have very limited real world benefits".
For further information please contact Philippa Edmunds on 020 8241 9982 / 07984 773 468 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
- Rail freight produces 76 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions and up to fifteen times less air pollution than trucks. Network Rail Value of Rail Freight 2013 Page 7 -6cbgt3sbwr8204sf92da3xxc5m-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/The-Value-and-Importance-of-rail-Freight-summary-report.pdf
- https://www.driverlessguru.com/latest-new-1/almost-half-of-uk-drivers-no..., or http://www.fleetnews.co.uk/polls/do-you-think-uk-roads-are-suited-to-pla...)
- In 2016, 30.2 % of trucks on the roads were completely empty - DfT empty running statistics Table RFSO117 2017
- Freight on Rail is a partnership between Campaign for Better Transport, the rail freight industry and transport trade unions.
- Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).