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True grit – Ford helps keep the nation’s roads clear
Businesses could be hit hard by new EU plans to introduce regular MoT tests for trailers

IF you use trailers for your business, then new proposals by the EU could substantially add to your transport costs.

The plans to introduce a MoT test for light trailers were under discussion at an EU Transport Committee meeting in Brussels on 30 May.

Most trailer accidents are caused by bag driving or careless hitching – an MOT won’t help either

Under the Commission proposals, trailers under 3500kg and agricultural tractors would need to undergo a regular MoT test for the first time in the UK.

According to estimates, there are around 1.25 million light trailers in use around the UK. A Department for Transport study in 2009 concluded that a national registration scheme could cost £237 million.

The Federation of Small Businesses is urging MEPs to oppose the plans and says there is no evidence that a trailer test would make UK roads safer.

It believes the introduction of regular testing would disproportionately hit small and micro businesses, especially in rural areas, and adversely affect their ability to create jobs and growth.

John Deere tractor
Tractors are also in the firing line – though the reaction from France will be interesting

The FSB is urging MEPs to:

  • Retain exemptions for trailers of less than 3500kg in light of a lack of evidence linking them to accidents
  • Maintain the existing UK MoT system of repairs and testing in garages
  • Agree that the function of a ‘roadworthiness test’ is to check that a vehicle is safe to be used on the roads and meets a certain environmental standard and that it’s unnecessary to test to original manufacturing standards
  • Ensure that genuinely historic vehicles can be exempted from testing, if the Member State chooses to do so
  • Retain exemptions for tractors used in agricultural work, distinguishing them from high-speed vehicles engaged in haulage work.

Federation of Small Businesses national chairman John Allan told Business Vans: “Despite the best efforts of some of our UK MEPs, it is disappointing that the Commission wants to go ahead with MoT testing for light trailers and agricultural tractors.

“UK law requires regular testing of vehicles to ensure they are in a roadworthy condition and there is no evidence that introducing an MoT test for light trailers and agricultural vehicles would improve road safety.

“Evidence shows that accidents involving trailers are largely caused by inappropriate driving behaviour or how the trailer has been connected, neither of which a test could check.”

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