Hauliers and Farmers losing out under new height restrictions says Jim Higgins
Jim Higgins, Fine Gael MEP for the Midlands North West has backed calls from both road hauliers and farmers to change the height restriction of 4.65 metres being imposed on vehicles since November 1st.
Speaking in Brussels, where Jim Higgins is a member of the European Parliament Transport Committee said “In the UK, including the North, hauliers, and farmers carrying loads have no restriction, so long as the load is safe. Irish haulage firms simply cannot compete. It is ridiculous that we would introduce a height restriction here in the Republic. There was a “washout” or derogation period from the 1st of November 2008, but this has now ended. It should, at the very least be extended for another 5 years.”
MEP Higgins says that the decision to introduce a 4.65 metre height restriction stems back to the construction of the Dublin Port Tunnel. That tunnel was built to 4.9m, with an operating restriction of 4.65m. He says that a mistake in the plans meant the tunnel’s original 5.5m height was never seen through.
“At the time the Irish Road Haulage Association criticised the plans, and they have been proven right to call for a higher tunnel.”
“This is ludicrous public policy, and has nothing to do with road safety. There are truck drivers and farmers who never use tunnels or pass under bridges, and pose no safety threat. To have Gardaí on the road stopping trucks or farmers carrying loads of hay is a waste of resources. I have written to Minister Varadkar, and am strongly urging him to review the decision.”
Meanwhile MEP Jim Higgins is also in a battle with the European Parliament over proposals to restrict the height of trucks crossing into Northern Ireland and using the Irish Sea to 4 metres. “I will be tabling amendments in the coming days in order to bomb this out of the water. A 4m height restriction across for cross border transport in the EU just doesn’t make sense.”