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‘Unwelcome’ HGV height restriction would harm trade, insists industry

By Kyle Linsay
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 16:32

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DEFIANT: Height restrictions unwelcome

Imposing ‘unnecessary and unwelcome’ height restrictions on goods vehicles would severely damage trade flows between UK and Ireland, a group of leading associations have insisted.

In a letter to the European Parliament’s Transport Committee, several organisations claimed changes mooted in a report by MEP Jorg Leichtfried would pose a real threat to the industry.

Under proposals, all EU cross-border movements of vehicles more than four metres in height would be prohibited.

Ireland currently have a national height limit of 4.65metres, while the UK impose no national height restriction.

The letter was signed by the Freight Transport Association (FTA), FTA Ireland, Road Haulage Association, British Irish Chamber of Commerce, Irish Exporters Association, Irish Road Haulage Association and the Irish Business and Employers Confederation.

Theo de Pencier, Chief Executive of the FTA, said: “We are extremely concerned about the adverse effect this would have on trade and the environment.

“One major UK retailer, with operations in the UK and Ireland, has estimated that a four metre height restriction would result in 3,000 extra trailer movements, adding 740,000 additional road miles and generating an extra one million kilogrammes of carbon dioxide per year.”

While it is common practice in most EU Member States to impose a national height requirement of four metres, both the UK and Ireland have never done so.

Using this flexibility, trade flows have developed with vehicles that exceed the four metre limit – which are often known as ‘high cube trailers’.

It is estimated that up to 90% of the Irish fleet would be affected by such a height restriction, with serious cost increases.

The letter appealed to the Transport Committee to accept the European Commission’s proposal to permit cross border movements of vehicles that exceed the maximum dimensions if they are already permitted in neighbouring member states.

Image courtesy of Highways Agency, with thanks.

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