No EU Height Limit For Lorries

18 July 2011
Scottish MEP Alyn Smith has pledged his support for a campaign led by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to request that the European Commission exempt the UK from their new proposals to harmonise the height of new trailers purchased within the EU.

Under these proposals, the UK will be required to implement a four metre height limit in order to be in line with the majority of other EU Member States which already enforce this limit.

Alyn, who shares the concerns of the FSB over this proposal due to the disproportionate impact it would have on Scotland and the UK, co-signed a letter to the Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship asking him to consider an exemption. Currently there is no legal height limit and, as such, most road networks are in a position to accommodate lorries up to 4.9 metres high.

Alyn said:

“The fact that the UK has an unwritten rule regarding the 4.9 metre height limit for trailers has been of enormous benefit to our haulage sector. This has made the double decking of trailers possible, massively cutting road haulage costs and CO2 emissions.

“There are wider benefits too. Trips are made less frequently meaning we see fewer lorries on the road. In the current climate of sky-high fuel prices and our seriously congested roads this is good news.

“As such, this four metre height limit would have a negative effect on the environment and also carries substantial economic costs for Scotland, which Commissioner Tajani must take into account.”

Research from Herriot Watt University has outlined the detrimental impact these proposals would have on the UK haulage sector and the environmental consequences of the UK not being granted an exemption from this proposal:

  • Lorries would have to travel 4.5 per cent further to deliver the same quantity of goods, costing the haulage industry an additional £305 million
  • An extra 320,000 tonnes in carbon emissions, equivalent to adding some 151,000 new cars to UK’s roads
  • A 5.5 per cent increase in the number of lorries on the roads

This research can be found at: http://www.sml.hw.ac.uk/research/lrc/academic-research/britain-without-double-deck-lorries-2010.htm