EC vehicle legislation
Not too long ago, all the social networks started buzzing with talk of new EC legislation which had the potential to damage the status of many modified and historic vehicles in the UK.
Part of the catalyst for this was an article here : http://www.the-ace.org.uk/armageddon/ which describes in some fairly stark terms an interpretation of what this could all mean.
Well, spurred on by this and wanting to find out a bit more, my mate Datalas and I wrote to a couple of MEPs who we thought might be able to help.
The two conservative MEPs (Julie Girling and Ashley Fox) which came back to me responded with basically the same letter, as follows :
Dear Mr Burt
Thank you for your email about the European Commission's proposal for an EU Roadworthiness Testing Directive, which was published in July 2012. As this is not an issue I deal with directly, my Conservative colleague, Malcolm Harbour, Chairman of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO), has provided me with the following information.
Many of my correspondents, like you, have been concerned about the alarmist comments on this proposal that have appeared on some car enthusiasts web sites. We want to reassure you that it will certainly not be rushed into approval in its present form, to the detriment of owners and users of historic, modified and low volume specialist vehicles.
On the contarary, this proposal is very far from being agreed, despite the fact that it has already been subject to extensive consultation. It is certainly not within "8 weeks" of being decided! It will go through a full Co-Decision procedure involving the European Parliament and all the EU Member Governments. The proposed content will certainly be modified extensively. It has many flaws and it is not at all clear that there will be a majority of Member States in favour of any EU intervention in this policy area. The UK has yet to take a position on it.
Within the European Parliament, review of the dossier is being led by the Transport Committee, and 3 other Committees will have key roles. A large number of UK MEPs will be examining the dossier and proposing amendments. No work has yet started in Parliament. We would not expect agreement before the end of 2013. You will be able to follow its progress through the web site of the European Parliament and also see a live web cast of all the discussions. The attached file shows the current procedure that will be followed, with links to the key proposal documents. The full timetable, and the appointment of the key MEPs on the file (rapporteurs) will be decided in September. It is likely that there will be a public hearing at which the case for amendemts can be made.
Parliaments In Member States will also be able to give their opinions, and the proposal will already have been sent to the Westminster Parliament for a response. For your information, the "8 weeks" referred to on some enthusiast websites is the absolute minimum period within which an EU proposal, under any circumstances, may be adopted after its transmission to National Parliaments for examination. In this case, as we have explained, the full examination procedure will be followed, with no pressure on the timetable.
The UK Government is also very deeply involved through the Department of Transport. They will have representatives in all the negotiations with the European Commission. It is already consulting stakeholders, and we attach their request for views from interested parties for your interest.
Conservative MEPs will take great care to ensure that sympathetic treatment for historic and modified vehicles will be encompassed in any final legislation. For several years we have been working with the Federation of British Historical Vehicles Clubs, and their European Federation, to respond to consultations that the EU has been having on this proposal. The attached note from the FBHVC web site shows what has been going on. In the European Parliament we have a well supported, all party and cross country Historic Vehicles Group that meets regularly to co-ordinate activities. We are very much aware of the economic importance of the historic vehicle movement.
It will be important for the historic vehicle movement, the specialist niche vehicle and kit car producers across Europe to examine the details and make a considered case to amend the flaws in this proposal. We are confident that MEPs will be very receptive to suggested changes from experts in this area.
Julie Girling MEP for the South West of England & Gibraltar
Chief Whip of the UK Conservative Party Delegation in the European Parliament
Agriculture and Rural Development Environment, Public Health & Food Safety Fisheries
So. nothing much to worry about if you talk to the Conservatives. Unsurprisingly, UKIP had a slightly different view :
Thank you for taking the time to write to me over your concerns regarding the Proposed EU regulation for Vehicle Roadworthyness Testing.
Sadly this is just another example of needless meddling and an additional tier of EU Bureaucracy that nobody wants, much less needs.
I am currently personally involved in a campaign to have similar legislation affecting bikes thrown out, as the EU also wants to ensure that the many modified trikes, bikes and quads are subject to similar draconian and utterly pointless rules.
Just like the bikes, this legislation seeks, under the auspices of 'road safety' to effectively end the modification of cars.
I would be totally opposed to this on a number of fronts but here are my principal objections:
1. We already have a perfectly adequate system in the UK under the form of MOT certification. To add another EU wide certificate is unnecessary and an attempt to supersede our UK based decision making authorities.
2. Modified cars - provided of course they are deemed roadworthy by the relevant UK authority - add colour and fun to our roads and allow an individual to express themselves, often with fantastic results.
3. The EU is seeking the homogenisation of our cars and bikes, meaning that we cannot change them to suit our needs and personalities. This to my mind is an attack on a way of life for many, and indeed an attack on the huge, profitable and exciting 'custom' industry.
4. The laws affecting cars of 30 years and older are completely unrealistic: How on earth can a car of over 30 years old be expected to be kept in its completely original condition? Of course modifications of parts would be necessary to ensure it can run properly! In addition many would need new fuel systems or engines to ensure that they can run on unleaded or diesel as opposed to the now almost obsolete 4 star leaded fuels.
It goes without saying that I will be opposing this proposed legislation tooth and nail. It is my intention to raise awareness of this matter in the specialised magazines sector and national and local press, as well as lobbying my colleagues here in the European Parliament on the relevant Committee to ensure that, just like the bikes legislation, this idea is put to the legislative bin where it belongs.
In the meantime if I can be any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.
Marta Andreasen MEP
UKIP South East England.
Thank you for writing to Nigel Farage about the EU's latest move to tighten the screw on motorists in general, and the owners of historic and customised vehicles in particular, by means of further modifications to the MOT-test, which require (Art.3(9)) that "the parts and components of a vehicle comply with its safety and environmental characteristics in force at the time of approval, first registration or entry into service".
This will effectively put an end to car-customisation.
The Regulation appears to exempt "vehicles of historic interest", until we look at the definition of such vehicles, which states (Art.3(7)) that "'vehicle of historic interest' means any vehicle which fulfils all the following conditions :
- It was manufactured at least 30 years ago,
- It is maintained by use of replacement parts which reproduce the historic components of the vehicle;
- It has not sustained any change in the technical characteristics of its main components such as engine, brakes, steering or suspension and
- It has not been changed in its appearance;"
This will effectively ban historic cars from the roads. Like its predecessor (Directive 2009/40/EC) the Regulation enforces the "Vehicle-Type Approval" requirements, issued by the United Nations Organisation.
The Regulation also delegates, to the EU-Commission, the ability "to adopt acts" and to exercise "implementing-powers", to modify the Regulation further, at the EU-Commission's own discretion (Art.18) and requires that test-results, from all EU-states, be collected centrally (Art. 14)
The general effect is to continue the construction of monolithic EU-control. UKIP will, of course, oppose this in every way possible.
Unfortunately, the opposition mounted by UKIP's 13 members at the EU's "parliament" is rarely supported by more than 60 of the other 740 members, and indeed, the "parliament" has rejected only two of the tens-of-thousands of proposals, which the EU-Commission has made this century.
The UK-government could refuse to implement this particular Regulation, because "vehicle-testing", surprisingly enough, is - as the Regulation puts it - "a sovereign matter"; but the chances of "our" pro-EU government doing that are, I would think, nil.
It seems most unlikely that this Regulation will not become law, whereupon the only way to repeal it will be to repeal the European Communities Act, which is the basis of all EU-authority in the UK. The repeal of this Act is UKIP's central and exclusive aim.
Andrew S. Reed
Office of Nigel Farage, Brussels
So there you have it. Make of it what you will. My thanks to the MEPs who actually responded (a few haven't, makes you wonder what they are being paid for really). If you have any concerns, my advice would be to contact your own MEP and make sure they know your feelings and concerns !
Have a look here : http://www.writetothem.com/ for info