§ Mr. Gregory
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the meeting on 10 May with European Community Transport Ministers about Commission proposals for a system of financial support for infrastructure projects, together with co-operation between railway systems, and measures to simplify and clarify certain rules governing road transport.
§ Mr. Ridley
The meeting of the Transport Council on 10 May made very useful progress. There was agreement that the Council must now establish a timetable for the liberalisation of road transport in the Community, and that any further harmonisation measures should be taken only in parallel with this. The UK obtained agreement to its proposal for a derogation on lorry weights. There was also agreement that the Community road haulage quota should be raised by 30 per cent. next year, and 15 per cent. each year for four years thereafter. This represents real advance.
The Council also agreed that a high-level group of officials should report by the end of the year on ways of introducing greater competition and flexibility into European air transport. Again, this is a useful step forward.
There was agreement on allocating funds for transport infrastructure projects from the 1983 and 1984 Community Budgets. The UK now stands to receive about £12.5 million from the £55 million available.
The Council adopted a number of other measures, including a helpful resolution on road safety; guidelines for future work on drivers hours; and a recommendation encouraging increased international co-operation between railway companies.