The Freight Transport Association’s fight against EU proposals to limit the height of future semi-trailers to just 4 metres has won a powerful ally in the International Road Transport Union (IRU).
Following FTA’s lead, IRU has urged European Commissioners to rethink proposals to harmonise height limits for single-deck trailers, which, industry argues, would harm industry, increase lorry miles and fly in the face of carbon reduction aims.
James Hookham, FTA’s Managing Director of Policy and Communications, said:
"IRU’s support shows that the loss of a national trailer height exemption is not just a UK issue. Far from it, the estimated cost of harmonising trailer heights in the way being proposed would amount to around €800 million every year for those affected; an additional cost that Europe could certainly do without right now.
"We have worked hard to influence the Department for Transport, MEPs and Commission officials aware of the efficiencies and carbon savings achieved in the UK through the use of ‘high-cube’ and double deck trailers and this ‘harmonisation at all costs’ attitude must be abandoned immediately."
Earlier this month, FTA announced a 5 stage campaign plan to drive home its message:
1. Letters to the Secretary of State for Transport and EU Transport Commissioner – to get those at the top sighted on the seriousness of this issue and answer FTA’s demands for it to be stopped.
2. Briefings for MEPs – the European Parliament will get to vote on the final proposals on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis before they become law. It is important to make sure they vote the right way and understand the significance of this issue for UK logistics.
3. Visits to UK depots for European Commission staff – FTA wants those making the decisions to see first hand how we do things in the UK and realise the practical implications (and sheer folly) of their intended actions.
4. A rally in Brussels to consolidate support for a higher limit – there would be implications for operators in other Member States so FTA is organising an event to share experiences and build an alliance of interests. Any FTA member wanting to attend will be more than welcome.
5. Consolidate support amongst other Member States – the UK is not the only country to operate trailers over 4 metres high so FTA is rallying support from others who will be affected. So far FTA believes France, Sweden and Ireland are with us.
Hookham concluded: "Our plan is already going strong and with IRU now onside our message will hopefully resonate even more loudly in Europe and we will see this proposal killed off before any serious damage is done."