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European Commission opens public consultation on operator licensing

The consultations follow the adoption of Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009 and Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 by the European Parliament and the European Council on 21 October 2009.

Following an evaluation of the regulation in 2014 that revealed issues in the road transport market, the Commission is considering whether policy intervention is justified to address these problems through an impact assessment exercise.

The public consultation is intended to gather input on the following four aspects: identification of the main problems in the road transport market related to the Regulations, objectives to be pursued by a possible policy intervention, potential policy measures and their impacts and regulatory balance between the EU and Member States (subsidiarity and EU value added).

Issues under the spotlight in the consultation include:

  • Are the current rules fit for tackling ‘letterbox companies’ – businesses that set up in a low-cost country but conduct transport operations in a higher cost economy, using drivers paid at the lower level?
  • Should the threshold for legislation such as operator licensing and cabotage, which currently apply to vehicles used for hire or reward over 3.5 tonnes, be lowered and what implications would this have?
  • Should the cabotage rule of ‘three operations in seven days’, following an international load, be amended to allow better enforcement?

The consultation is open now until 15 September 2016, with all citizens and organisations welcome to contribute, in particular those using road transport services in their activity, road transport workers and companies engaged in the transport chain.

In response, the UK’s Freight Transport Association (FTA) has said that enforcement not legislation is the answer, adding that enough legislation already existed to ensure van operators were safe and compliant.

James Firth, FTA’s 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.” 

Further details and a link to the consultation can be found on the European Commission website at: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/road/consultations/2016-review-road-regulations_en.htm

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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