Conservatives see off EU threat to caravans and small garages

11-Mar-2014 @ 13:0

Jacqueline Foster Jacqueline Foster

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Conservative MEPs were celebrating today (Tuesday) after successfully side-lining over-zealous road safety Regulations which would have subjected caravans and light trailers to a cumbersome and intrusive inspection regime.

The EU proposals also threatened to put small, independent MOT garages out of business.

Led by Transport and Tourism Spokesman Jacqueline Foster, Conservatives steadfastly opposed the extreme proposals put forward by the EU Commission, and successfully negotiated a more proportionate package of roadworthiness measures. The amended scheme will protect the interests of Britain's three millions caravan enthusiasts and avoid a complete redrawing of the UK's MOT scheme.

Original Commission proposals would have hugely extended the scope of the current regime for MOT tests, as well as roadside tests on commercial vehicles. Caravan enthusiasts and the caravan industry feared the proposed Regulation would bring extra costs and inconvenience that could spoil their holidays and leisure time.

The early draft legislation included proposals effectively banning some repair garages from also conducting MOT tests and would have made caravans and light trailers (under 3.5 tons) subject to unnecessary testing.

During long drawn-out and detailed negotiations Jacqueline Foster secured the removal of all the potentially damaging measures and also succeeded in changing the package's legal basis from Regulation to Directive – thus giving national governments flexibility in adopting the rules.

The European Parliament sitting in Strasbourg today voted overwhelmingly to approve the renegotiated package.

Mrs Foster said: "All our key negotiating objectives were achieved. Our Conservative led Government back in London was very keen to see off these extreme proposals and I am delighted that together, we have succeeded.

"The alternative would have been classic Commission overkill: Over-burdensome, too prescriptive, and too costly.

"Fortunately, Conservatives have put some common sense into the equation. Now caravanners can continue to enjoy their leisure time without unnecessary interference from Brussels, and small garage-owners have seen a real threat to their livelihoods removed."

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