The Freight Transport Association has warned against attempts to relax cabotage rules any further arguing that it would put UK operators at a competitive disadvantage.
In April, Siim Kallas, vice president of the European Commission responsible for transport, released a report which highlighted the fact that removing the remaining cabotage restrictions would reduce the level of empty running.
It quoted a European Parliament study which found that the cost of cabotage restrictions was about €50m a year.
Kallas said: “The current rules are wasteful for European companies, impact on all road users and are bad for the environment. We need clear regulations for the industry and at the same time we need good working conditions for the drivers. I hope the next Commission will continue down this road.”
However, the FTA pointed out that any extension of cabotage would damage UK operators, pointing out that “despite recent, welcome, action by Government to abandon fuel duty increases, UK operators still have among the highest operating costs in Europe”.
FTA director of policy Karen Dee said: “Under these circumstances foreign registered vehicles enjoy a competitive advantage, yet evidence suggests their compliance rates are not as good as UK operators.”