Need For Vigilance On EU Lorries Rules Danger

18 October 2011

SNP MEP Alyn Smith has signed a letter to the European Commission on the potential dangers of EU proposed legislation which could see as much as 80% of the lorries currently on Scotland's roads rendered illegal.

The campaign is backed by the Road Haulage Association and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Alyn is confident the proposals will be amended.  However the proposals as they stand are essentially that a height limit of 4 metres be implemented for most lorries across the EU on the grounds that this will be more energy efficient.  According to the Road Haulage Association 80% of the Scottish and UK fleet is above 4.25 metres in height, so the impact of replacing these with 4 metre trailers would see an increase of 400 million articulated vehicle kilometres a year and an annual increase of 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.
Alyn said:
"The proposals in themselves are well meaning, but would have crazy unforeseen consequences of more journeys and more carbon emissions.
"It is my job to make sure that EU legislation fits the reality in Scotland and I'm glad that the FSB and RHA have been so supportive in making sure our case is well researched and well presented.
"I am confident that the European Commission will listen to our case and see the reality on the ground in Scotland, but we need always to be vigilant.
"We share the ambition of making transport as energy efficient as possible, but the reality is that with so many of our goods being transported by road anything that would force smaller trucks to make more journeys would be bad news for the environment, but also the industry and our consumers as the costs would of course be passed on.
"However, I hope that we have caught this one early enough in the process and that a sensible solution will be found.  I'm confident one will but we can take nothing for granted."
Phil Flanders, Regional Director of the Road Haulage Association, added:
"The vast majority of the Scottish and UK road freight industry is against this move as it will mean more vehicles on the road to do the same amount of work.

"For many Scottish hauliers and their customers it will increase costs and reduce competitiveness due to the distances to main markets at a time when the future of many of these hauliers is in serious doubt. It will also increase vehicles emissions with no alternative mode available."