FTA welcomes formal adoption of EU road transport package

Thursday 24 September 2009

The Freight Transport Association 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.

Yarsley continued:

“There is a real spirit of co-operation 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.

Yarsley concluded:

“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.”


Notes for editors

In the UK, roadside checks will be enforced by VOSA to ensure that foreign drivers are complying with the 3-journeys-in-7-days cabotage rule and are only operating on an ad hoc basis, and not by prearranged contract when in the UK. This will mean domestic work cannot be sub-contracted out to foreign operators so easily and will put the onus on drivers to prove that they are not engaged in ‘permanent or continuous activity’.

The new ‘Admission to the Occupation’ regulation that also forms part of this road transport package will improve operator standards across the EU and, for the first time, bring clearly defined responsibilities for transport managers in Europe. Crucially, it will see the electronic linking of national registers of road transport operators across all EU Member States. This will allow for offences committed outside the ‘home’ Member State to be reported back and be logged onto the operator’s licence history.


FTA Press Office

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