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Lloyd Fraser Raises Issue of Reduced Trailer Heights in Parliament

Date: 1/4/2012

During December, Mike Faye, Lloyd Fraser Operations Director, and Matthew Preston, Lloyd Fraser General Manager, hosted a visit to Lloyd Fraser's Rugby Head Office by Mark Pawsey, MP.

Matthew has been communicating with Mark, as well as all of the MEP's who cover Rugby, highlighting Lloyd Fraser's concern over the EU directive which would limit the height of all trailers operating in Europe to 4m. Given that Lloyd Fraser has been working with double deck trailers for a number of clients for more than ten years, this is clearly something we are opposed to, along with the vast majority of UK transport operators.

Not only do tall trailers make a lot of economic sense in the efficiency they allow us to achieve, but also they are very good for the environment. The most recent year for which reliable figures are available is 2008, when there were something like 7,000 double decks on the roads in Britain - if they had to be replaced with single deck trailers at 4m or less, it would have cost the UK transport industry an additional £305m per year;  increase the distance travelled by articulated vehicles by 4.5%; and increase CO2 emissions by a staggering 64%. That increase in emissions would be the equivalent of putting an additional 151,000 additional cars on to Britain's roads.  The source of this information is a report entitled 'Britain without Double-deck lorries', by Professor Alan McKinnon of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Mike and Matthew gave Mark Pawsey a copy of the report so that he could see for himself the potential damage this proposal could do to Lloyd Fraser and its customers. Mark also saw first-hand a loaded Lloyd Fraser Contracts triple deck trailer, and how efficient it was, demonstrating even more clearly how damaging the 4m limit would be.

Mark left promising to look at the report and subsequently raised the matter in Parliament prior to Christmas, as reported by Hansard:

Mark Pawsey (Rugby) (Con):I wish to raise a matter that is of particular concern to the logistics industry. That industry is something of a Cinderella sector whose contribution to the UK economy is often not recognised. It has had a tough few years, not least as a result of high fuel prices. Despite that, it has continued to deliver the goods for the UK, and our economy depends on an efficient, successful supply chain getting the right goods to the right places.

The logistics sector is of particular importance to my constituency, because Rugby enjoys an ideal location in the centre of England and at the crossroads of the motorway network, an hour away from the M25. As an aside, I should like to say that the industry and I welcome the Government's commitment to improving the Catthorpe intersection at junction 19 of the M1. It is at the crossroads of the motorway network, and the scheme will improve a junction that currently suffers from considerable delays and accidents.

The issue that I wish to raise is the proposed EU regulation on the height of commercial vehicle trailers. The EU is seeking to restrict such trailers to a height of 4 metres through a directive known as the whole vehicle type approval scheme. The EU claims that this will ensure safety on our roads, but I believe that it is an example of the EU bringing in standardisation for standardisation's sake.

I doubt that many Members will be aware of the directive. I was unaware of it until I had a meeting with representatives of a company based in my constituency. Lloyd Fraser Contracts is a large logistics company, among whose many contracts is one with Mr Kipling cakes. At this time of year, it spends much of its time delivering mince pies, among other things. These are relatively light, fragile products that are packed in boxes of very little weight. It is important to get as many boxes as possible into the trailers, and one way for the company to do that is to make its trailers taller to maximise the available space.

In response to the EU's claim, Lloyd Fraser told me that it knew of only two instances in which the height of a trailer had been an issue in an accident. It was put to me that self-regulation has worked effectively in recent years. I was also told that when issues of wind speed are involved, the company takes a decision to take the high-sided vehicles off the road. It sees no reason for legislation. However, 4.9 metres seems to have been adopted within the UK as the maximum height of a trailer, but the company is now using double, triple or even quadruple decks on its lorries. In doing this, British businesses gain extra cubic capacity, while fuel consumption and exhaust emissions per tonne of product are dramatically cut. There is a strong business case for allowing British distributors and logistics companies to do what they have been doing.

In this matter, I want to refer to research published by Professor Alan McKinnon in October 2010. It showed that between 2004 and 2008 there was a 57% increase in the amount of freight moved in double-deck trailers. If the EU regulations are implemented and the UK is not granted an exemption, this directive would see road haulage costs rise by roughly £305 million, with CO2 emissions increasing by 64%-equivalent to having 151,000 extra cars on UK roads.

This is a potential problem for the UK, but I understand that work is going on behind the scenes between the Government and the EU. I welcome some of the meetings that have taken place with representatives from the industry. I very much hope that this will bring a successful resolution for all. It is important to champion the freight industry for keeping this country's economy on the move. When it comes to the negotiations, I hope that common sense will prevail.

Finally, I extend to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, to all Members and to staff a very happy Christmas.

- ENDS - 

Notes to Editors

About The Lloyd Fraser Group

The Lloyd Fraser Group is a private limited company providing quality third party logistics at competitive rates employing over 500 staff operating out of 20 sites nationwide.

We believe we can make Lloyd Fraser appreciably different by working together to deliver what we promise, act with integrity and respect and look for continuous improvements. Our business is not driven by the needs of external shareholders and we understand that to compete amongst much larger competitors we must offer a more innovative solution at a better cost. We strive for sustainable relationships with customers rather than fast profits.

The strategic vision of the company means that we are developing and winning new business in our key vertical markets. The Group has highlighted key areas where we can differentiate our product offering and are constantly monitoring our value propositions. This strategic vision is driving the organisation forward and we expect significant growth in the near future.

Lloyd Fraser's services benefit customers in a broad range of market sectors and we work alongside some very high profile businesses.

For more information on Lloyd Fraser contact Mike Dennis:

Tel:               07980 940803
Fax:              08717 143939