The article on a new car tax licence by the anonymous Pinstripe does not, as he or she advertises him or herself "tell it straight" ("How a new car tax licence will solve our road problems", Herald Business, March 26). In fact the article is definitely squinty, as a car tax capped to protect HGVs would do little to ameliorate our problems with potholes as they are by far the worst offenders. Also, by taxing only vehicles owned and registered in Scotland, many of the culprits would escape this net.
It has been known for years, and heavily researched, that HGVs exponentially damage roads. I quote here an excerpt from an article by Philippa Edmonds and published by the Campaign for Better Transport on March 13, 2017: "Lorries do cause far more damage to foundations and structures of roads than cars because the damaging power rises exponentially as weight increases. This is called the Generalized Fourth Power Law."
"The Generalised Fourth Power Law is the most commonly agreed method to approximate the relative impact of vehicles on roads: the damage caused to the structure or foundations of a road is related the axle weight of the vehicle by a power of four. This means that a six-axle, 44-tonne truck is over 138,000 times more damaging than a typical, small, one-tonne car (such as a Ford Fiesta) with two axles."
There is much more in the same vein but I will leave it to fellow readers to do their own research.
As an industrial engineer I was trained that it is far better to prevent damage than repair it. Therefore the best solution is to push more freight on to the railways, open more railway depots and make most long-distance freight movements by rail, then onwards to final destination by lighter trucks. An added benefit of this, particularly south of the Border is that more miles would be completed sans diesel as [many of the] railways are electrified in England. Perhaps in time we will be similarly blessed by the knock-on effect of much fewer diesel emissions and healthier folk, if and when we too have electrified [intercity] railways.