EU taking logic out of logistics
Monday, June 6 2011
West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass fears plans by the EU to restrict the height of lorry trailers will be bad news for the region’s haulage industry and economy.
The UKIP MEP, who is a member of the EU’s Transport & Tourism Committee, says he will do all he can to fight meddling plans to bring in a four metre height limit to standardise the size of lorry trailers throughout the EU.
Under these proposals, the EU would impose a four metre height limit on lorries. The proposed move has already come under fire from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) who insist the EU should exempt the UK from the plans.
Warwickshire-based Lloyd Fraser Contracts, which is a medium sized third party logistics company, has also criticised the planned standardization of lorry trailers as double deck trailers deliver cost savings to their clients and substantially reduce the environmental impact of the firm’s operations.
Matthew Preston, General Manager of Lloyd Fraser Contracts which is based in Cosford Lane, Rugby, said: “For the past ten years we have embraced the principle of utilising double deck trailers.
“We have invested substantial amounts of time, effort and money in developing the design of these trailers which have the win-win advantage of delivering genuine cost savings for our clients whilst simultaneously substantially reducing the environmental impact of our operations.
“The current EU proposal to limit trailer heights to four metres would instantly reverse these benefits for no apparent good reason.
“There are two distinct issues here – cost and the environment. On lorries we would have to replace double-deck trailers with two single-deck trailers which would increase costs and also congestion.
“We are very alarmed by the EU’s plans as a lot of British companies use double deck trailers which are a common sight on our roads.”
Mike Nattrass MEP, who is a member of the FSB, commented: “The West Midlands is a major transport hub and these EU plans to restrict trailers to about 13 feet (in English) would damage the region’s economy and confirm that there is no logic in EU logistics
“Haulage firms would see their costs rise as a result of the restriction in the height of trailers. Companies would be forced to scrap newly bought and efficient existing double deck trailers and use two single deck trailers which in turn would increase congestion and pollution on Britain’s roads.
“This would be laughable really if it were not such a waste of money, as a sensible objective would be to reduce costs and environmental impact.
“In my view, they waste their expenses attending these brainless EU committees and now I will need to attend the EU parliament in an attempt to vote it down.
“It is time that our Westminster Parliament regained their ability to govern,” he added.
The FSB say the EU plans would lead to around 7,000 double-deck trucks, currently in use in the UK, being gradually phased out.
Richard Hyslop, EU International Affairs and Defence Policy Adviser, said: “This Commission proposal will have a wholly disproportionate impact on the UK as tall lorries up to 4.9 metres in height are almost unique to this country.
“The vast majority of double deck trailers on UK roads are substantially taller than four metres and would thus be affected by the new European ruling if it were to come into force.”