Duncan Buchanan, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association (RHA), has told a Transport select committee hearing that local congestion rules such as low emission neighbourhoods are the main barrier for hauliers.
“It starts to look as a punishment for something you should be able to do,” said Buchanan when talking about the need for hauliers to move more freely across the country.
In an intense exchange with Ben Bradshaw, the Labour MP for Exeter, Buchanan said that these measures feel like “an attack on road mobility” as they create massive congestion.
“Our members don’t have a choice, we need to deliver the goods [but] we get caught up in this traffic, our van members get caught up in this traffic” he said.
“It’s absolutely ludicrous [that there are] low traffic neighbourhoods in some places. There is a dogma that it’s a good thing to stop people driving.”
The policy director has encouraged MPs to move from managing the roads in a way that creates congestion to a way that avoids congestion.
“This idea that were are dominated by short journeys is a myth and it’s a dangerous myth because it’s leading to inappropriate management of our road network, taking space away from cars, vans, buses and coaches and giving it to cyclists – which is fine in a lot of places – but it’s being used as a tool to prevent mobility by road,” he said.
Buchanan’s comments come a day after he spoke in front of a Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee saying that cabotage practices will be “shockingly damaging” for the UK domestic HGV companies.
“Instead of importing drivers with their lorries, visa-free, who pay no tax and no contribution to the enforcement of this country, what we need to do – if we need to import that labour – is employ them here and have them pay taxes here,” he told the BEIS committee.