HL Deb 02 February 1971 vol 314 cc1183-4WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether transport policy is a subject of current negotiation with the E.E.C.; whether it is their aim that Britain enjoy parity with France and Germany in the allocation of road haulage permits to traffic throughout the Community; and what would be the effect on British road haulage costs of implementing the Community's acceptance of the Geneva Rules on Driving (as distinct from working) time.


Discussions are in progress with the Community about the technical adaptations needed to apply their transport legislation to the United Kingdom, and the timing of its application. In particular, the United Kingdom has asked for a five-year transition period before adopting here the eight-hour driving day required by Regulation 543/69.

Entry into the Community would entitle us to an allocation of permits under the Community quota for road haulage, over and above our existing rights under bilateral agreements concluded with member countries. The Community quota is experimental at present, and to be reviewed at latest by the end of 1972 in the light of experience. For this and other reasons, speculations about the ultimate size of the United Kingdom share would be premature and of little value.

Estimates of the cost of applying the eight-hour driving day in this country can only be based on ranges of assumptions and cannot, therefore, be firm. Its impact upon costs would be reduced if we obtained the transitional period requested.