Although the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) welcomed the ‘Green’ element of the new Government and is willing to help improving the environment, the national road transport body is somewhat sceptical of some of the soundings coming from the Green Party. IRHA President Eugene Drennan did not like to hear of the recent comments about reducing speed limits.
Since the introduction of the ‘Euro 1’ engine emission controls programme that has now reached ‘Euro 6D’, hauliers have paid the price to help improve the environment, with extra capital requirements and increased fuel and repair costs. Most European countries have road user charges, mostly brought in as an environmental charge.
Now the Green Party is suggesting that speed limits should be reduced to improve the environment and lower the emissions emitting from transport. All very laudable and well intentioned. “The road is our factory floor,” insists Eugene. “Every business needs to constantly look at reducing their costs and improve their efficiencies. Our costs have been rising because of legislation over the last decades, but reducing speed limits will now reduce our efficiencies and productivity,” he added.
Some of the statements from the Green Party are suggesting that adding ten minutes to a journey is not the end of the world. Possibly so in the case of a leisurely car drive but when you translate that to a truck or bus it could very easily build up to a few hours in a working week, amounting to a considerable cost when spread over a fleet.
The IRHA hopes that the Government will engage positively in the new forum promised under the Programme for Government, so that any new costs or charges will not impose negatively on operators. Being on an island presents difficulties and Brexit will bring this more into focus. “Journeys involving a ferry will, either going or coming, will in future cost at least half a day’s productivity purely because of operational constraints,” according to the IRHA President. “Let us not make the situation any worse.”