Last week saw members of the European Parliament voting on the Roadworthiness Package proposals.
In 2011 the Commission issued their proposals for regulating periodic testing – the MoT in the UK. This included items which would disadvantage the independent sector. Member state trade associations made representations to their government departments, in the UK IAAF lobbied the Department for Transport and in Brussels whilst international association FIGIEFA spoke to Commission officials and MEPs.
The UK government then made plain their opposition to much of the proposals and supported the IAAF position. UK members of the EU committees involved were also consulted and generally supportive. Unfortunately the latest vote in the Parliament has not fully reflected the views of national governments, the EU committees, or the independent aftermarket.
The key points from the voting are:
- On the ‘separation of activities between periodic inspection and repair’ a compromise has been adopted allowing the possibility for repairers to be involved as inspector on the same vehicle – but only if the supervising body ensures a high level of objectivity.
- On the definition of ‘roadworthiness test’, the wording previously voted by the Transport Committee in May has been adopted. The definition does not mention any check of parts and components but only refers to the time of type-approval as a benchmark to check the environmental and safety criteria for the entire vehicle which is closer to current practice.
- The Parliament also voted in favour of the ‘Regulation’ rather than the ‘Directive’ as the legal form of the proposal. This means that this piece of legislation would be more stringent for Member States, as it will apply directly where a Directive would have given Member States more flexibility is deciding how and when to implement the European provisions.
- The frequency of testing proposed by the Parliament will be every two years starting four years after registration. However this may be a minimum level of frequency, meaning that states which currently have a tighter frequency of test, such as the UK’s 3-1-1 regime, will be allowed to continue it.
- The Parliamentarians decided to reintroduce L-CAT vehicles into the scope of the proposal. This means that motorcycles will have to be tested as of 2016 and mopeds as of 2018.
- The vote approved measures which require regular inspections of trailers that weigh more than 750 kilogrammes, which will include caravans.
The IAAF’s chief executive, Brian Spratt said; “It is strange that the opinions of expert EU Committees who have studied the proposals in depth have been dropped by the Parliament. We will continue to encourage the UK government to persist in its view that local testing is a topic for local legislation, that testing should reflect functional operation rather than adherence to a paper specification of what parts were fitted when assembled, and that it is not necessary to separate testing from servicing.
“In the UK we have an enforcing authority (VOSA) with a formidable reputation for ensuring consistent and stringent testing. I am sure that the UK government will not wish testing to be drastically altered just because some new Balkan EU member state has a poor road safety record.
“The next step will be meetings of the Council of Ministers and I hope the UK’s department for Transport will be leading the fight for more sensible rules. I understand that there are also rumours that the EU Parliament might use these items as a bargaining point with the Council and concessions may be available. There’s still much to fight for!”