European rules could clog Scotland’s roads with lorries


THOUSANDS of extra lorries are expected to clog Scotland’s roads under new rules being considered by Brussels.

Currently there is no legal height limit on Britain’s transport network and most bridges can accommodate heavy goods vehicles of up to 4.9metres.

But the European Commission wants to introduce a maximum height of four metres.

The move would effectively ban

“double-decker trailers’ and is intended to bring Britian into line with other European countries.

But experts say it will increase lorry traffic, CO2 emissions and food and goods prices.

Scotland will be particularly hard hit because of its rural landscape, they claim.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), backed by all seven Scottish MEPs, has launched a campaign to oppose the directive. Andy Willox, FSB’s Scottish Policy Convener, said:

“Tall lorries are a common sight on Scotland’s roads. The majority are substantially taller than four metres.

“These proposals could lead to about 7000 double-decker trucks currently in use in the UK being gradually phased out and this could have a big impact on many of our smaller haulage members.

“An arbitrary limit like the one proposed means that the most modern, most fuel efficient lorries would be forced off the roads. “

Phil Flanders, of the Road Haulage Association in Scotland, described the proposal as a

“total waste of time and energy.”

He said:

“If this directive is pushed through it could have serious ramifications for everyone. It will force hauliers to phase out and replace many of their current trailers meaning they will need more lorries. That will lead to an increase in the cost of transporting goods and, ultimately, a rise in the price of goods in shops.

“The EC should stop meddling in trivial issues and get on with solving important problems. “

A letter to European transport commissioner Antonio Tajani has been drafted by the FSB and has so far been signed by 57 of Britain’s 72 MEPs.

It warns of the dire consequences of pressing ahead with the move to standardise lorry heights.

The letter cites research by Professor Alan McKinnon, from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, which estimated it will cost the UK haulage industry almost 350million.

It also said it would be akin to putting an extra 151,000 cars on the road.