European countries may be able to introduce “protective measures” to safeguard the interests of their domestic transport industry once EU regulations on cabotage are liberalised.
The proposal would allow the UK to introduce legislation prohibiting contract work from being carried out by visiting foreign lorries, which could substantially increase competition.
The agreement was reached at the EU Council of Transport Ministers in Luxembourg last Friday (13 June) and has been given a “cautious welcome” by the Freight Transport Association.
The problem is not yet resolved, however, as the European Parliament still needs to agree to the change.
James Hookham, director of policy at the FTA, said: “The potential future problem has been postponed rather than eliminated, since it is clear that the European Parliament wants to see full liberalisation.
“As such, the long-term solution must be for the UK to make progress towards bringing diesel duty levels more in line with the EU average. To this end FTA recently submitted to the Treasury proposals formulated by PricewaterhouseCoopers which are designed to achieve this.”
It was also agreed at the meeting on Friday that an exchange of information on vehicles coming into foreign territory should be set up in order to improve security and aid enforcement of road safety regulations.