§ Mr. Denham
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the annual cost of damage to roads and bridges caused by overloaded vehicles. 
§ Mr. Watts
This is an operational matter for the Highways Agency. I have asked its chief executive to write to the hon. Member.404W
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. John Denham, dated 12 June 1995:As you know, the Minister for Railways and Roads, Mr. John Watts, has asked me to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the annual cost of damage to roads and bridges caused by overloaded vehicles.In 1988 the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) published a report on road wear caused by overloaded lorries. This was based on the results of ten roadside surveys of goods vehicles carried out in different locations during the 1980s. The conclusion was that for the roads covered in the survey, overloading contributed directly to 5.7% of the road wear attributable to goods vehicles.The Highways Agency recently asked the TRL to review this figure. The latter concluded that, because of changes in the composition of the vehicle fleet, road wear caused by overloading had probably reduced slightly. Of the £360 million spent on maintaining roads comprising the trunk road network during 1994/95, we estimate that less than 5% (£18 million) was attributable to damage caused by overloaded vehicles.As for bridges, we use historical data on traffic distribution when developing the loading standards for their design. Although there is therefore some element of initial capital cost associated with overladen vehicles, we do not have an estimate of the annual cost of damage caused by them.