There are constant problems with the cost of maintaining, driving on and the fuel tax that is choking the UK’s ability to compete with haulage companies from the continent. Our Hauliers are in a constant battle with the government over fuel duties and fighting for ways to make the UK more competitive. Surprisingly, the answer to cheaper transport may come from concrete roads. The revelation is good news for the government, because concrete roads can now be more financially viable for them as well as drivers and they could contribute to lowering our emissions.
The European Concrete Paving Association (Eupave) has produced a report that studies the decarbonising of transport. Testing on both asphalt and concrete surfaced roads looked at the fuel consumption for HGVs by examining the rolling resistance of both surfaces. This is where tests are performed to examine the resistance of a surface when a vehicle is rolled along it. The greater resistance in the road surface, results in more fuel burnt and of course, more impact on the environment. Burning more fuel means more emissions and when our government is constantly trying to lower our carbon footprint, this is not good news.
Concrete Roads Perform Well
Concrete roads were found to reduce fuel consumption when compared with asphalt surfaces because of a lower rolling resistance. Heavy goods vehicles were able to travel nearly 7% further under tests and that translates to significant savings for hauliers. The resulting reduction in CO2 emissions would also have a massive effect on our environment. The haulage industry has been blamed for a large percentage of our CO2 pollution that is directly linked to our roads. This could mean massive long-term savings for our industry.
Multi-Agency and Multi-National
The report was created using lots of data from external sources. Data from Canada, the USA, Sweden, Japan as well as studies conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory in the UK was collated by Eupave to produce this report. The report concluded that asphalt would need to be as much as two thirds thicker than current surfaces in order to compete with concrete. Over a sustained period, the environmental harm caused by sticking with asphalt instead of changing to concrete roads would be monumental. Research showed that as many as 40,000 tonnes of Carbon Di-oxide could be produced in every 10km stretch of road used by HGVs in a thirty-year timeframe.
The environmental as well as the cost savings to us in the UK are significant to the point that major road works could start in the near future. Our government is unlikely to change anything unless it needs to and although we will save money from lower fuel bills, the extra duty we pay on the fuel is expected to cover any fines the UK receives because of not meeting carbon reduction targets. New major roads are likely to use concrete surfaces instead of asphalt, but existing roads networks are unlikely to benefit in the short term.
Falling Behind the Rest of the World
Unsurprisingly, the UK has dropped down the rankings to number 28 for countries that are investing in their transport infrastructure. There are now several Asian countries well ahead of us. This means the UK has become less appealing to investors looking at logistics as a major issue, when deciding to set up in the UK. The good news is that Chancellor George Osborne has assured everyone that debt reduction measures will be slowing and more there will be more focus on economic growth. This means that there are possibilities of major improvements to our infrastructure and road networks on the cards.
This will have a knock on effect for industries such as the manufacturers and suppliers of concrete mixers and road construction trade specialists.