FTA says enforcement not legislation is the answer.

16 June, 16

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says effective enforcement of vans must come before new laws following the announcement of three new European Commission consultations.

The EC yesterday released the first of the three consultations about changes to operator licensing which poses a range of questions about the way two key pieces of transport legislation work and how they could be changed.

But James Firth, FTA’s Head of Licensing Policy and Compliance Information, said enough legislation already existed to ensure van operators were safe and compliant.

He said: “Rules for vans already exist regarding roadworthiness, overloading, driver licensing and insurance, but no-one is out there enforcing them.  Introducing new laws when there’s no enforcement simply means those who play by the rules are stuck with more costs while the cowboys carry on doing what they think they can get away with.”

FTA has been striving to help van operators shake off the ‘white van man’ image with its Van Excellence accreditation programme, which shares best practice, drives up standards of compliance, recognises excellence and represents the interests of the van industry.  The scheme has more than 100 members including household names such as BT, Asda and Kwik-Fit.

Mr Firth said: “The operators who are Van Excellence members maintain their vans properly, run safe fleets and train their staff effectively – this shows that more rules are not the answer.”


Issues under the spotlight in the consultation include:

  • Are the current rules fit for tackling ‘letterbox companies’ – businesses that set up in a low-cost country but conduct transport operations in a higher cost economy, using drivers paid at the lower level?
  • Should the threshold for legislation such as operator licensing and cabotage, which currently apply to vehicles used for hire or reward over 3.5 tonnes, be lowered and what implications would this have?
  • Should the cabotage rule of ‘three operations in seven days’, following an international load, be amended to allow better enforcement?


The Department for Transport itself consulted in the New Year on proposals to generate more funds for enforcing against unsafe vans, but when the final strategy came out a few weeks ago there was no mention of it.

FTA members will have the chance to give their views on the EC consultation at Freight Councils, which are currently taking place throughout the country, and at FTA National Council in July. For more information about Freight Councils please see: http://www.fta.co.uk/membership/fta_councils/about_fta_councils.html


Further details and a link to the consultation can be found on the European Commission website at: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/road/consultations/2016-review-road-regulations_en.htm



Notes for editors



For further information, please contact the FTA press office via email: [email protected] or call 01892 552255.

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The Freight Transport Association can trace its origins back to 1889 and is recognised as the voice of the freight and logistics industry, representing the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air.  FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles – half the UK fleet – consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and 70 per cent of sea and air freight.


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