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Toxics And Trucks Just Don't Mix

Green Party Transport Spokesperson Sue Kedgley today said a 10 tonne formeldehyde spill, caused after two trucks collided near Kaikoura, showed the urgent need to get toxic chemicals off our roads and onto rail wherever possible.

The spill of the toxic formaldehyde occurred when two trucks travelling in opposite directions clipped each other yesterday morning. It is the second potential environmental crisis caused by truck spills in the Kaikoura area in six weeks.

"These two trucks couldn't even fit past each other on the road without contact at precisely the same time that apologists for the roading industry are trying to tell us that our roads will be safer if we allow these trucks to be five metres longer and nearly 50 per cent heavier than they are at the moment," said Ms Kedgley.

"What is particularly concerning here is that there is a perfectly good railway line between Picton and Christchurch that these hazardous goods should have been travelling on for at least the majority of their routes.

"The Greens believe all toxic chemicals should be carried on the least risky mode of transport wherever possible to minimise the risk to people and the environment."

Ms Kedgley said these were the types of issues that should be being considered by the relevent transport agencies, rather than making our trucks much bigger.

Ms Kedgley said comments from Kaikoura MP Lynda Scott after yesterday's accident calling for more passing lanes on State Highway 1 to avoid these crashes completely missed the point as these trucks were travelling in opposite directions.

"That the last two toxic spills in the area have not caused significant environmental damage is purely good luck over good management, and this good luck will not last," she said.

"Incidents like this show why we must get heavy and dangerous freight off our public roads and onto rail, or even coastal shipping, that is more suited to carrying these cargoes.

"It is important that the Government takes back the control of the physical rail track so that we can plan for our future transport and infrastructural needs with certainty and keep freight where it belongs - on rail."


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