Foster: We will fight EU plan for caravan and trailer tests

02-Jul-2013 @ 9:0

Jacqueline Foster Jacqueline Foster

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Conservative transport and tourism spokesman Jacqueline Foster has vowed to do all she can in the European Parliament to resist proposals which would impose a cumbersome and intrusive inspection and testing regime for caravans and light trailers.
The European Union has drafted a raft of proposed legislation on vehicle safety testing which would hugely extend the scope of the current regime for MOT tests, as well as roadside tests on commercial vehicles.
Mrs Foster, Conservative MEP for North West England, said: "Caravan enthusiasts and the caravan industry itself are extremely fearful. This proposed regulation will bring extra costs and inconvenience that could spoil their holidays and leisure time.
"It also poses a threat to ordinary householders occasionally using small trailers for jobs like taking garden waste to the tip.
"I am all in favour or improving road safety, but this is set to take our perfectly good British system backwards."
The draft legislation includes proposals that could potentially ban some repair garages from also conducting MOT tests and for making caravans and light trailers (under 3.5 tons) subject to frequent MOT tests.
Mrs Foster said: "I have spent many months objecting to the inclusion of caravans in this proposed regulation. I believe it to be pointless and it would contribute nothing to improve road safety. It is accepted that our roads are among the safest in Europe.
"Caravans are generally well-maintained by their owners and used typically in good driving conditions with low annual mileage. I am pushing hard to protect the UK from yet more overly prescriptive, burdensome and unnecessary regulation from the European Commission.
"With so many caravan owners across the United Kingdom, not least the one million members of the Caravan Club, this industry is worth more than £6 billion a year. It contributes greatly to our local and national economies. This is an important part of our leisure and tourism industry which we should be encouraging, not penalising."
In a speech to the plenary sitting of the Parliament in Strasbourg last night (Monday), Mrs Foster told fellow MEPs: "I was also stunned by colleagues calling for measures that would have banned some repair garages from operating testing services. This would have potentially affected the work of up to 50,000 inspectors, and 20,000 SMEs in the UK, threatening some with closure. In these tough economic times, we should be supporting our SMEs, not closing them."
On roadside inspections, Mrs Foster played a key role in removing initial plans to have smaller vehicles included in the proposal. She said: "Widening the scope to smaller vehicles would only reduce attention of Heavy Goods Vehicles, which is where the bigger danger lies. Our roadside inspectors need to make sure that they can inspect what is really necessary. HGVs pose a far higher road safety risk than smaller vehicles, so we should not undermine road safety.
"This proposal is a Commission classic: Over-burdensome, too prescriptive, and too costly."
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