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Andrew Bridge, Chairman of the FTA West Midlands Freight Council, which met in Solihull on 15 January, said, ‘FTA was a 20 year campaigner for the M6 Toll and we are delighted that it has been constructed and opened. However, the toll rate for trucks means that fewer lorry operators are able to commit to it – at the current rate of £10 per journey, later rising to £11 per journey, there can be no guarantee of a value for money journey. Had the rate been set at a more realistic £4 or £5 then FTA has no doubt that lorry fleets would have signed up in large numbers.

Midlands Expressway Ltd, the road operator, should now reduce the lorry toll and negotiate more economic rates for lorry operators who SMO Services are buying multiple journeys. The North East Freight Council of the Freight Transport Association has expressed concern about the de-trunking of roads in the region following gridlock in County Durham last week. The local authority which is now responsible for the A167 did not anticipate the snowfall or the need for extra traffic management.

Frank Hunter, Chairman of the North East Freight Council and Operations Controller for Vehicle Lease and Service Ltd said, ‘The de-trunking of roads transfers the responsibility of road management from the Highways Agency to local authorities. In the case of the A167 it is clear that the management by Durham County Council simply was not adequate.

FTA and its members have long been concerned about the de-trunking programme particularly for roads which form part of the Primary Route Network. Snowfall during peak hours caused a number or minor accidents and therefore tailbacks but swift action to remove these incidents was not taken.Vehicles took three and a half hours to complete a 10-mile journey in and around the City of Durham and the major problems seemed to be at roundabouts, where it became a free for all with no police presence to direct traffic.