Serious concerns from a leading MEP over Brussels’ plan to limit the height of trucks on Irish roads have been echoed by Ireland’s pre-eminent transport trade body, the Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI). Yesterday, Fine Gael’s Jim Higgins MEP highlighted the ‘detrimental environmental and congestion impacts’ of EU plans to limit Ireland’s truck height of 4.65m to just 4m by 2014.

     Declan McKeon, FTA Ireland’s Head of Policy, said:

    “Ireland’s exports rely on an efficient supply chain and restricting trailer heights would cause untold damage to its efforts to pull out of this period of recession. Like Mr Higgins, our concerns have also been highlighted to the Commissioners who, if they forge ahead with this ‘harmonisation at any cost’ approach, could cost industry dearly at a time when Ireland’s fragile economy is incredibly vulnerable.

    “A one-size-fits-all approach to trailer heights across every European country simply won’t work; different countries have different infrastructure parameters and the companies that operate commercial vehicles should be trusted to buy and use those trucks that work best for them. Limiting their choice will also limit their ability to optimise their performance – which is bad news for the economy and could impede Ireland’s environmental progress.”

    Last month, FTAI’s fight against EU proposals to limit the height of future semi-trailers to just 4 metres won a powerful ally in the International Road Transport Union (IRU).

    McKeon concluded:

    “This issue affects all member states in Europe and although it’s a technical amendment, there needs to be an urgent and serious sanity check which reflects the importance of this issue. After all, in the last ten years alone the Irish logistics sector has invested in around 1,000 trailers exceeding four metres.

     “FTAI will be working hard with other industry bodies and stakeholders, including the Freight Transport Association in the UK, to convince the policy makers to decapitate the current proposal.”