Moves by the European Commission to impose HGV-like regulations on the light commercial van sector have been condemned.
The Commission has launched a 12-week consultation (to 15 September) about changes to operator licensing which pose a range of questions about the way key pieces of transport legislation work and how they could be changed.
It is the first of three consultations impacting on the sector and among the key questions asked in the consultation is:
•Should the threshold for legislation such as operator licensing and cabotage - the haulage of goods for hire or reward in one member state by a vehicle registered in a different member state - which currently apply to vehicles used for hire or reward over 3.5 tonnes, be lowered and what implications would this have?
The Freight Transport Association said effective enforcement of vans must come before new laws with enough legislation already in place to ensure van operators were compliant.
James Firth, head of licensing policy and compliance information, said: “Rules for vans already exist regarding roadworthiness, overloading, driver licensing and insurance, but no-one is out there enforcing them. Introducing new laws when there’s no enforcement simply means those who play by the rules are stuck with more costs while the cowboys carry on doing what they think they can get away with.”
The UK government has previously indicated that it was not supportive of a change to the current ‘O’ licence weight threshold, according to the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.