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Fut i ure for C-Licence

8th April 1966, Page 26
8th April 1966
Page 26
Page 26, 8th April 1966 — Fut i ure for C-Licence
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?


TRTA NATIONAL SECRETARY SURVEYS THE PROSPECTS AGOVERNMENT wanting to help the railways had three choices suggested Mr. H. R. Featherstone, national secretary of the TRTA, when addressing the a.g.m. of the Central London area on Monday.

Physical limitation on C-licence operation could be introduced with, say, a mileageradius restriction and a corresponding measure for the professional haulier. But as the Geddes Committee's Report had roundly condemned, any such action, that was hardly a runner, Mr. Featherstone contended.

Financial measures directed against road transport was a second alternative. But taxing long-distance transport had the disadvantage of penalizing the whole field of transport to the detriment of the national economy, which again was an unlikely choice.

Positively subsidizing the railways was the third alternative. In a shadowy form he thought that such a policy had some support in Government circles. It could take the form of a specific subsidy or, alternatively, an open-ended one which would enable the railways to quote very competitive rates.

Regarding the Geddes Report, Mr. Featherstone said it would be wrong to underestimate its influence. Although it seemed to be on the shelf at the moment, nevertheless its outright rejection of restriction could have some liberalizing influence on subsequent Government transport policy.

It was anything but clear to him just what the announcement of a National freight Anthority implied and how far it would go in integrating road-rail movements. It was intriguing to conjecture whether, for example, BRS would be its competitor or be submerged by it.

Bewildering was how Mr. Featherstone then described the increasing number• of councils having sornd concern with road transport. Recent additions included the 40 Regional Economic Planning Boards. and the Greater London Council. What concerned him was the extent to which

they were becoming committee-bound.

The TRTA just must be represented on such councils, he said, but it was putting a severe strain on its organization to provide the necessary qualified staff for this work..

Transport had long been waiting for a policy statement on its industry from successive Governments, but there now seemed a reasonable hope that a White Paper would soon be issued. In this, Mr. Featherstone said he would like to see positive statements on the following five aspects of national transport policy.

Firstly, were the railways to be commercially operated? Secondly, what was to be the basis of rail investment with the corollary of road investment? Policy regarding the treatment of road and rail taxation should be set out together with the function of the National Freight Authority and, fifthly, the future for road transport licensing.

As to the effect of all this on C-licence operation, Mr. Featherstone said that over the past 12 months the TRTA had been rebutting the specious arguments in favour of switching traffic from road to rail. Moreover, the Government had made it abundantly clear that the national economy had absolutely first priority. Consequently, if a transport policy was likely to have an adverse effect on that economy it would be thrown out of the window.

RESEARCH PROJECTS REsEARcH into the strength of bridges, which the RHA believes may in some cases be too low rated, and into the strength of lorry headboards are to be undertaken by the Imperial College or Technology at the instigation of the Association's highways and vehicles committee.

Dartford Tolls Cut: On April 1 a further reduction was made by the Dartford Tunnel authorities in tolls charged for abnormal loads; for those more than 9 ft. 6 in. wide there has been a reduction from £20 to £10 for daylight movements, for example.

The reductions apply for an experimental period of a year.

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