Peyton calls for FTA's tolerance evidence
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• Mr John Peyton, Minister for Transport Industries, has told the Freight Transport Association that his refusal to allow overloading tolerances on goods vehicles is based entirely on road safety.
The Association had asked that prosecutions should not be brought in cases where the axle weight did not exceed the legal limit by more than 10 per cent.
In a letter dated February 17, Mr Peyton says: "In case there is any misunderstanding, may I first of all emphasize that in reaching my decision, I fully appreciated the practical difficulties involved in avoiding overloading and that the FTA's request was confined to axle weights. I realized, too, that in certain circumstances the weight of an axle can increase despite a decrease in the gross weight. I also know that a statutory defence already exists to cover this situation, though it does not go as far as you would wish. I should repeat that this matter of tolerances is something which cannot be solved by an administrative stroke but would need the sanction of Parliament.
"The issue turns on road safety. I repeat that my advice from the Department, from the vehicle manufacturers and from the tyre manufacturers is that the present plated weights are set at the maximum consistent with safety. It seems to me to be inconsistent to go to all the trouble of calculating maximum permitted weights based upon the design of the vehicle and then to introduce by law further provisions to allow those weights to be exceeded for each axle by a specific amount. If, however, you will produce the evidence which prompts you to suggest that the law should be amended, I will of course have it carefully examined."
An FTA spokesman told CM: "We cannot accept that the limited axle weight tolerance which we have asked for would adversely affect road safety. We feel very strongly about the matter and will pursue it."