FTA fights back against mandatory fitment of tachographs in vans threat

A call by Brussels bureaucrats for vans weighing 2.4 tonnes and above in the UK to be fitted with a tachograph was an “unfair and excessive exercise in red tape”, which would make it even harder for British business people to make a daily living, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

The FTA, which has more than 17,000 member organisations operating vans and HGVs, as well as moving freight by air, sea and rail, has reacted angrily to proposals from members of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee to introduce tachograph readers to the cabs of vans currently operating on Britain’s roads.

The measure is outlined in the latest draft of the Committee’s ‘Mobility Package’ due to be implemented before the UK leaves the European Union in 2019. If adopted it would mean that the UK would have to accept the plan.

The ‘Mobility Package’, called ‘Europe on the Move was first presented in May 2017. It included a wide-ranging set of initiatives aimed at making traffic safer; encourage smart road charging; reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, air pollution and congestion; cut red-tape for businesses; fight illicit employment and ensure proper conditions and rest times for workers.

The first batch of eight measures have subsequently been added to with a range of other proposals, including on post-2020 emissions standards for cars and vans as well as the first-ever emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles. The Transport Committee said the proposals would further drive innovation; improve competitiveness, reduce CO2 emissions, improve air quality and public health and increase the safety of transport.

In the latest draft of the ‘Mobility Package’, currently making its way through the European Parliament, operators of vans between 2.4 and 3.5 tonnes would be required to fit and operate a tachograph, as HGVs are required to do at present.

However, according to James Hookham, deputy CEO of the FTA, the van tachograph proposal would have a serious impact on the working lives of those using Britain’s four million vans in their daily business.

He said: “Forgetting the cost implications of tachograph installation for so many hard-working British businesses, the introduction of this equipment in the van sector would be pointless and time consuming.

“Will small business really have the time and ability to analyse the necessary data and plan their work around so many new working time rules?  Would governments have the resources to enforce the move? The proposal is simply unenforceable, and a case of MEPs making bad decisions on the fly.”

The FTA said that van operators were already facing increasing pressure due to the introduction of Clean Air Zones around the country in the next couple of years, which could penalise operators with all but the very newest vehicles, and rising inflationary pressure and the continued high price of fuel duty payable on diesel.

Mr Hookham said: “Vans are now central to our daily lives, with next day deliveries a given for households and business. Introducing a pointless measure like tachographs for van operators will not benefit our small and medium sized businesses but strangle them with red tape, at a time when they should be being encouraged to flourish and expand.”

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