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'I would like to see

11th July 1996, Page 63
11th July 1996
Page 63
Page 63, 11th July 1996 — 'I would like to see
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

impounding for vehicle!

that operate illegally' 6 p.,

usiness needs to move goods around, and while I am happy to see rail freight promoted, the fact is that most freight is moved by road and that is the area that needs to be addressed. I support the idea of graded levels of vehicle excise duty according to vehicle size, but I question whether it is feasible and practical to consider half-laden vehicles. I have consistently opposed efforts by the European Commission to harmonise taxation, simply because the UK would lose out financially.

We all need to accept that finances for the new Labour government after the Election will be limited. However, there are a number of measures that can be adopted quickly and with little financial cost. The freight industry is plagued by a iiny minority of operators whose flagrant disregard of the law undermines those in the industry who try to maintain standards. I would like to see the immediate introduction of impounding for vehicles that operate illegally. This is a call echoed by everyone in the industry but the Government continually ducks the issue, often using spu-,ous figures to play down the problem. We must also address the issue of funding for the enforcement authorities. Law-abiding operators have nothing to fear from increased enforcement activity, particularly if efforts are concentrated on long-term investigative work rather than mere number-crunching by the Vehicle Inspectorate in order to meet objectives set by the Treasury. Both the Freicht Transport Association and Road Hau age Association have made it clear that they would be willing to pay a little more on the licence fee for greater enforcement. I welcome this sensible approach. A few pence on the fees would enable the incoming Labour government to invest in a much-needed computer database, which would enable the various enforcement agencies to talk to each other. It would also stop the apparently endless erosion of frontline enforcement staff as a result of so-called "efficiency gains" by the Department of Transport.

I would like to see the role of Traf Commissioner strengthened. I have impressed by some of them but I an amazed at the reports that I read a differing standards adopted in thern regions. There should be clear sent guidance for Commissioners; inde( logical step would be to start recrui from within the industry rather thar the armed forces.

There is much that needs to be di including revision of the driver testi training system, greater penalties fi offenders and investment in road maintenance. The incoming Labou government will have many issues address, but I believe it must bring well thought out, sensible proposal developed wherever possible with affected. Only then will we be able in a genuine partnership with the i

• If you want to sound off about transport issue write to features e Patric Cunnane or fax your views 600) words on 0181 652 8912.

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