Leading trade body the Freight Transport Association (FTA) welcomes the Council of Ministers’ adoption of new rules that will bring safer roads and fairer European competition closer, and spell bad news for rogue commercial vehicle operators.
The EU Road Transport Package that was adopted today (24 September) will 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. With today’s announcement 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."
FTA has been at the forefront of discussions leading up to the formal adoption of the new Regulations and has significantly shaped the enforcement agenda therein.
"There is a real spirit of cooperation 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 by far the highest fuel duty in Europe. This prompted 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 represented a massive competitive disadvantage to UK registered operators.
"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."