The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the Council of Ministers’ adoption of new rules that will bring safer roads and fairer European competition closer.
The EU Road Transport Package that was adopted on 24th September is designed to harmonise and tighten up road operator licensing across Europe and introduce new rules governing cabotage – the movement of freight in one country by a vehicle registered in another. The latter is set to come into force as early as Spring 2010.
Chris Yarsley, FTA’s road freight, enforcement and EU affairs manager, said: “Together with the Department for Transport we have worked hard to bring about a standard set of rules for operator licensing across Europe that are comparable with GB standards.
“For the most part, UK hauliers operate to the gold standard in terms of vehicle roadworthiness and driver compliance…. we are one step closer to levelling the playing field across Europe and to removing those rogue operators that jeopardise the safety of other road users.
“There is a real spirit of co-operation between member states for more harmonised rules governing those entering the road transport market and we are pleased that FTA’s influence has resulted in the operator licensing regulations that GB companies adhere to becoming the model upon which EU regulations will be based.”
UK operators pay the highest fuel duty in Europe, which prompted the FTA to successfully argue against the forced opening of the domestic market to non-UK registered vehicles by 2014 with no further impact assessment, which would have created a massive competitive disadvantage to UK registered operators.
Yarsley added: “While we welcome today’s news there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to achieve greater road safety and fairer competition. For example, the interoperable database of truck operators is still the Holy Grail in the fight against rogue operators and we must not lose sight of this goal.”