§ Mr. Moate
asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will give an estimate of (a) the initial capital sum required for strengthening bridges and (b) the extra annual maintenance cost imposed by the lorry weights recommended in the Armitage report, based on the same method as that used by Husband and Co. for the lorries proposed by the European Economic Community;
(2) if he will give an estimate of the extra annual expenditure on bridges that the report commissioned from Husband and Co. by his Department says will result from faster deterioration imposed by the heavy lorries of the type put forward by the European Economic Community, and which expenditure is additional to the initial capital sum required for strengthening for which Husband and Co. gives some figures;
(3) if he will give an estimate of the proportion of brick and stone arched bridges which the report commissioned from Husband and Co. by his Department says will require strengthening to withstand heavier lorries, that are either listed buildings, scheduled ancient monuments or bridges of character, the strengthening of which could result in an erosion of the United Kingdom's architectural heritage, based on (a) the European Economic Community proposal for heavier lorries, (b) the lorries recommended by Sir Arthur Armitage and (c) lorries restricted to 10 tonnes axle load but including a 38-tonne five axle lorry conforming to the current British regulations on axle spacing;251W
(4) if he will give an estimate of (a) the initial capital sum required for strengthening bridges and (b) the extra annual maintenance imposed by lorry weights restricted to the current 10-tonne axle weight but including 38-tonne gross weight on five axles, based on the same method as that used by Husband and Co. for lorries proposed by the European Economic Community.
§ Mr. Fowler
The Armitage recommendations for heavier types of lorry would not mean any additional expenditure on bridges, either in terms of reconstruction or ongoing maintenance.
Husband's estimates of capital expenditure required on bridges to take EEC vehicles, were based on a statistical study. Particular bridges were not identified, so no assessment can be made of those with architectural merit.
No detailed assessment has been made of the effects of EEC traffic on deterioration, and thus annual expenditure on bridge maintenance. But the general effect would be of a broadly similar nature to that on road maintenance and construction costs. This is assessed in the Armitage report (paragraph 388) as probably favourable but, on the most pessimistic assumptions, costing not more than £5 million a year.
A 38-tonne articulated vehicle with a drive axle limited to 10 tonnes and a correspondingly heavier tri axle on the trailer would be marginally worse from the bridge point of view than the axle load arrangements proposed in the Armitage report.