Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI) has told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications that it believes the banning of vehicles in excess of 4.65m from Ireland’s roads could substantially increase the total number of vehicle movements, and that the move would have a huge impact on a wide variety of freight operators, as many companies use ‘High Cube’ trailers on a day-to-day basis.
Representatives of FTA Ireland voiced their concerns during a meeting between members of the association and the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications earlier this week to discuss amendments to Directive 96.53/EC.
FTAI informed the Committee that it acknowledges the requirement to legislate for maximum vehicle weights and dimensions, and also supports a maximum standard vehicle height of 4.65m, but has called upon the Committee to recommend a controlled permit regime for operators of high vehicles on fixed (‘trunk’) routes, similar to the abnormal loads regime that currently exists among local authorities. As the abnormal loads regime is highly variable between local authorities, this would require standardisation nationally.
Neil McDonnell, General Manager – FTA Ireland, said:
"FTA Ireland was pleased with the degree of engagement by TDs on the environmental and economic impact of imposing height restrictions on all distribution vehicles in the national fleet. While accepting the necessity for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to legislate for national vehicle dimensions, FTA Ireland was encouraged that the Committee gave such an open hearing to its request for a special permit regime for designated vehicles on defined or fixed routes; but as the abnormal loads regime is highly variable between local authorities, this would require standardisation."
FTAI said it supported certain proposed amendments to Directive 96/53/EC as they would:
• Encourage the use of hybrid and multi-fuel vehicles;
• Encourage the manufacture of more aerodynamic and fuel efficient vehicles;
• Encourage the manufacture of vehicles that are safer from a pedestrian, cyclist and driver perspective;
• Improve road safety.