Constant vigilance is needed in the campaign against mega trucks on all fronts, but especially in Europe. There are powerful business interests supporting the spread of these massive machines across Europe because mega trucks will cut the costs for the road haulage industry by around 15 per cent. The issue here is that everybody else pays the extra costs imposed on society and the economy in terms of road crashes, road congestion, road damage and pollution.
Supporters of mega trucks have been attempting to slip in text supporting cross border mega trucks into the interim revision of the Transport White Paper using the opaque euphemism of European Modular System (EMS).
So I alerted supportive Green and Labour UK MEPs on the Transport Committee immediately so that they could work together to push for the removal of the appropriate wording. Additionally, I then contacted Conservative and UKIP MEPs on the transport committee, to try and influence their forthcoming votes in this committee.
As it stands, the problematic amendments with the text supporting EMS have been removed but the person responsible for the revised file, known as the rapporteur, is Dutch and a big mega trucks fan so I will continue to work closely with our supporters in the European Parliament and try to influence other UK MEPS for the vote in the Transport Committee this month.
However, this episode is just the warm up hostilities as the Netherlands, which is hugely supportive of mega trucks, takes over the European Presidency from January to July 2016 and is already rumoured to be preparing a cross border framework for mega trucks to go on the Transport Committee agenda. This initiative will be a massive challenge as NL will be deciding what issues are discussed during its presidency but we have supportive MEPs including the Green Chair of the Transport Committee who took over from Brian Simpson.
As Vice President of Transport & Environment in Brussels as well as my Freight on Rail role, I am well placed to react to all these massive challenges we face together.