‘Unacceptable’ Austrian Sectoral Truck Ban

Austria’s Tyrol region has a third attempt at its highly controversial progressive truck ban.

Also, deadline passes to apply for Belgium electronic truck toll OBU before system starts on Friday 1 April. And, questions on new double-manning break fines in France. French haulier faces severe penalty for ‘social dumping’. Foreign firms fight Calais clandestine fines.

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‘UNACCEPTABLE’ AUSTRIAN SECTORAL TRUCK BAN

Tyrol bid to improve air quality branded a kerb on free trade.

The A12 near Innsbruck. Photo ASFINAG

The A12 near Innsbruck. Photo ASFINAG

The upcoming ‘sectoral traffic ban’ on the A12 Inntal motorway in Tyrol, west Austria, is an ‘unacceptable’ restriction on free trade says the IRU International Road Transport Union.

It was announced earlier this week that, from October 2016 until July 2018, 7.5t+ trucks will be progressively banned based on Euro class with exemptions made for certain industries – hence ‘sectoral ban’.

The idea is to shift freight from road to rail in a bid to improve air quality.

However, the IRU says, ‘Tyrol’s decision to introduce the sectoral traffic ban defies the opinion of the European Commission and European Court of Justice, as well as some very basic principles of the European Treaty. It is a totally unacceptable restriction on the free movement of goods.’

But in a statement, Tyrol authorities say, ‘The sectoral traffic ban was already in place from 2008 to 2011 and presented no obstacle to the flow of goods.’

The plan will see pollution decline by three quarters by 2017 it says and take 200,000 trucks off the road by 2019.

In addition, the ‘Air-100’ 100kmh speed limit on parts of the A12 imposed in November 2014 has seen pollution decline faster than predicted.

Meanwhile, the Austrian government said this week it wants ‘to find a jointly appropriate solution’.

In reply, the European Commission, which wanted an 80kmh speed limit for all vehicles on the stretch, said it, ‘Supports Austria in improving air quality in the Inntal in line with European legislation.’

Tyrol has tried twice before to introduce a sectoral ban on the A12 but both times the European Court of Justice said the measure would not comply with EU law.

The A12 Inntal autobahn east of Innsbruck is on the  busy route between south east Germany and Italy.

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Sunday 20 March is the final date to apply for the On-Board Unit for Belgium's truck toll before it goes live on 1 April. More later.

It will put 15% of Belgian hauliers at risk of bankruptcy some claim. The European Commission says it will do nothing to tackle country’s congestion problem. But the Belgium electronic truck toll system still goes ahead as planned from Friday 1 April. Operator Satellic says Sunday 20 March is the last day hauliers can apply for the On Board Unit to be sure of having it in place when the tolls start (deposit €135). Eurotunnel Freight has just published a comprehensive roundup of the scheme. Read even more in-depth at Road Pricing. It applies to all HGVs of more than 3.5t with charges ranging from €0.074/km to €0.292 depending on vehicle weight and Euro class, and applies to motorways and national roads. See more maps and tariffs on the website of scheme manager ViaPass.be.

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roundup: FRANCE. A new interpretation of the driving and rest rules for double-manned trips has seen drivers fined thousands of euros. Police have apparently recently decided the 45 minute break period after two 4.5hr driving sessions must be taken in a stationary vehicle. One man was reportedly fined €17,000. Chris Yarsley from the FTA Freight Transport Association told @DriveEurope today he was informed of the situation by the IRU International Road Transport Union this week. They have been working to establish whether it is being applied locally by misinformed police, perhaps, or throughout the entire country. He points out the new rule is in clear contravention of the European Commission’s Guidance Note 2 on Driver’s Hours – it says that 45mins of the POA period of availability of a second crew member in a moving vehicle can be regarded as a ‘break’. SOCIAL DUMPING. French prosecutors want fines of €45,000 and suspended three year prison sentences for six Norbert Dentressangle managers accused of ‘social dumping’. The firm, now owned by XPO Logistics, insists its labour practices follow EU regulations but faces charges of ‘unlawful loan of labour’ and ‘illegal sub-contracting’ reports Lloyd’s Loading List. It is alleged to a have bussed in cheaper drivers from Eastern Europe as it laid off locals. Judgement is expected on 26 May. ‘Social dumping’ by employing foreign workers on the terms and conditions of their home country, thereby under-cutting domestic labour, is an increasingly hot topic in the EU – it was the subject of a recent report in the European Parliament Transport Committee, and on the agenda of the upcoming Road Transport Conference in Brussels next month. Update Saturday 19 March: 100 trucks blocked the ring road in Rennes today in protest at ‘social dumping’, including unfair competition and illegal cabotage from foreign companies reports Les Echos. Organised by the OTRE union, similar demonstrations are expected to be announced in coming days. CALAIS MIGRANT CRISIS. Two hauliers from the Continent are taking the UK Home Office to court over clandestine fines according to the BBC. Drivers and operators face fines of up to £2000 per migrant. One of the firms, from Romania, says it took all the security steps recommended by the British authorities but still landed a £900 fine – plus £600 for the driver – after three migrants gained access to the trailer from a motorway bridge in Calais. The other firm, from the Netherlands, is challenging a £7200 fine after six migrants were found inside a sealed container picked up from Frankfurt airport. The Home Office is currently consulting on changes to clandestine fines in an effort to ‘better incentivise operators to improve security’.

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