Elevate the debate
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SIR GEOFFREY HOWE and Mr Peter Shore will barely have returned to their front bench seats after the Budget before Mr David Howell and Mr Albert Booth cross swords on the heavy vehicle issue.
We cannot recall any parliamentary subject, other than the Finance Act, which has generated so much discussion.
The basis of the discussion is the report from Sir Arthur Armitage's committee on the effects of heavier gross vehicle weights on the environment — dare we add "and the economy". Almost overnight the report transformed the nation into environmentalists, conservationists, economists, highway engineers, distribution specialists or transport managers.
This has been a juggernaut debate in the true sense of that misused word. Surely the disciples of the anti-lorry faith will be destroyed by their own arguments.
That will be the outcome if the emotive element is measured against facts. Facts are irrefutable; assumptions and circumstantial evidence are highly suspect. We have presented the facts on this topic throughout the long debate. Today we add weight to the heavier lorry argument with more facts from the UK, Germany, Sweden and Italy.
Every Member of Parliament has been sent a copy of these facts. We hope it makes the debate more constructive on this occasion.