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Brussels to consider larger trucks

Brussels, Belgium: European Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas will today publish the EC proposal for revising directive 96/53 which governs the international circulation of HGVs. The move could see longer length road trains allowed to operate across borders.

But rail groups are lobbying hard to limit trucks to existing dimesions and weights. Freight On Rail is calling for the new legislation to set maximum HGV dimensions at 18.75 metres in length and and a maximum weight of 44 tonnes for international transport, “to prevent general circulation of massive road-trains”.

The group also said the new legislation should not allow cross-border traffic of mega-trucks, and in countries which allow mega-trucks, national limits should be set prohibiting them from using roads other than dual-carriageways and motorways in order to protect cyclists, pedestrians and general traffic.

Freight on Rail Manager Philippa Edmunds added: “Unless Europe sets maximum weights and length limits for HGVs in international traffic in its current revision of the legislation, there will be more needless fatal collisions, more road congestion and more pollution.”

She said if Brussels allowed cross-border traffic of mega-trucks between consenting countries, the UK road haulage industry would pressurise the UK government to allow them on British roads on competition grounds.

Edmunds said: “European bureaucrats are proposing permitting cross-border mega-trucks traffic without evaluating the impacts, contrary to the commission’s own rules.

“Instead, Europe should be promoting freight by rail, in line with its own policy.”