The debate regarding congestion continues, as the Freight Transport Association (FTA) challenges the plan to ban lorries overtaking on a certain section of the M42.
Following a meeting with the Highways Agency on November 2, 2005, members of the Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) West Midlands Freight council, remain strongly critical of the current ban on lorries overtaking on a section of the M42 between J10 at Tamworth and J11 at Appleby Magna. Head of policy for the Midlands, Stephen Kelly says: “The ban on lorries overtaking seems designed to provide increased journey time reliability for car drivers at the expense of those of us responsible for the movement of freight.” The FTA comments that the ban is an unfair burden on the essential movement of freight and they accused the Highways Agency of engaging in a “knee-jerk reaction” to criticisms that the Agency is failing to tackle congestion. Kelly goes on to comment: “Commercial vehicles are the lifeblood of the economy and their operation should be made easier and more economic, not the reverse. The penalisation of essential freight movements, particularly on a key trade route such as the M42, is a very sad reflection on the way the UK motorway network has failed to keep pace with the growth of the economy.”
A spokesperson from the Highways Agency said: “This scheme has been under consideration for some considerable time and is just one of a number of measures being brought forward by the Highways Agency to tackle the problem of congestion.” They also go on to add: “The daytime restriction on overtaking on a three mile stretch of the M42 northbound is a trial and the Highways Agency welcomes responses from all road users. Any comments should be forwarded to Iftikhar Mir at the Highways Agency in Birmingham.”