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Denby risks legal action to pioneer LHVs

  • 09 November 2009
  • By Chris Tindall

Denby Transport says it will risk legal action and run one of its pioneering Eco-Link Longer and Heavier Vehicles (LHVs) on UK roads without a government permit.

The decision by the Lincolnshire haulage firm comes after it took legal advice on whether it would be breaking the law to run its own trial of LHVs after former transport secretary Ruth Kelly rejected calls to allow them on the roads.

However, the Department for Transport (DfT) has stated it still consider the use of any LHV on UK roads as illegal.

Director Dick Denby insists that the Eco-Link trailer produces less CO2 emissions, takes up less road space and would boost UK productivity.

However, following a 2008 report into the use of the vehicles, the DfT claimed there would be safety risks and environmental drawbacks due to the modal shift from rail to road.

Denby says the DfT has written to him admitting that, ultimately, only the courts could decide the legality of running LHVs.

He says: "We got the law clarified and we believe at Denby Transport that our vehicle is quite legal on British roads without a permit, provided we respect weight limits and British turning circles."

Denby says it is confident it can show it has not broken any road transport laws if a prosecution is brought against it.

"Since our legal advice is particularly solid, we are not in a panic about it," Denby explains. "We are not nervous about it; we got all our legal ducks in a row first. And if we are in front of the bench, we could say we did all we could to negotiate this with the DfT and they have acknowledged that only the courts can decide. So, we have done everything we can to protect our good repute."

Denby Transport has already written to the Eastern Traffic Area Office outlining its views. It could start using its Eco-Link before Christmas.

RHA policy director Jack Semple says: "We think Dick Denby and his son, Peter, are to be applauded for trying to keep the issue alive in the UK, given that Ruth Kelly's decision was unsatisfactory and her 310-page report was not allowed to be debated."

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