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Kallas set for collision with MEPs over cross-border gigaliners

[ June 18, 2012   //   ]

EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas has decided to allow longer 25metre trucks of up to 60 tonnes – so-called ‘gigaliners – to operate cross-border between two member states that authorise them on their territory. However, his interpretation of Directive 96/53/EC on the weight and dimension of vehicles could put him on a collision-course with the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport (TRAN), who are accusing Kallas of side lining MEPs znd unilaterally interpreting the directive and overturning accepted opinion that a a legislative amendment was necessary.

Meanwhile, transport pressure group Freight on Rail has described moves to allow 25 metre long 40 tonne mega trucks between consenting countries as being in blatant disregard of the democratic process and will be impossible to enforce.” At the moment, countries are only permitted to have larger heavier HGVs, which do not comply with existing international regulations, to operate within their own borders. While the EU transport Commissioner did at one stage seem minded to allow cross-border operation between countries that allowed so-called ‘gigaliners’ on their home territory, he has since retreated from that position.

Freight on Rail adds that while the UK currently does not allow gigaliners, it believes it “will come under huge pressure from the road haulage industry on competition grounds to allow these lorries, despite all the adverse safety, congestion and environmental consequences.”

As a result Freight on Rail urges the Coalition Government to maintain its agreed position and resist any attempt to force mega trucks onto UK roads.

Philippa Edmunds, Freight on Rail manager, said: “The Commission is supposed to implement existing laws, not make new ones. The weight limit of 40 tonnes is effectively meaningless as the Commission has no means of enforcing it. Instead of pursuing this undemocratic change to the existing policy to allow cross border traffic of mega trucks, the Commission should evaluate the road safety, congestion and pollution implications of mega trucks and let Parliament and Transport ministers make the decision in the normal democratic way.”

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