• Dutch plan to authorise extra long trucks is illegal, dangerous and won’t cut emissions

    Transport & Environment (T&E) strongly criticises the announcement today by the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Environment Melanie Schultz Van Haegen to allow trucks up to 25 meters long and 60 tonnes in weight to operate across the Dutch road network (1).  EU law currently restricts the length of lorries to a maximum of 18.75m and 40-44 tonnes.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]So-called megatrucks, sometimes known as gigaliners are currently only allowed to operate as part of controlled trials on specific routes.  The Dutch plan to roll them out nationally would clearly be illegal under EU law.  (2)

    The road lobby argues that longer, heavier trucks save fuel because two megatrucks can replace three conventional vehicles.  But research has shown that
    the effect in reality is that road transport costs decrease by around 20% which drives up demand for transport by almost the same amount (3).  A study by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany found that greenhouse gas emissions would increase overall as a result of the introduction of megatrucks (4). Analysis for the European Commission has shown that on a per-vehicle basis, longer and heavier vehicles could be more dangerous (5).  

    Nina Renshaw, deputy director of T&E said:
    “Megatrucks won’t save the environment, won’t reduce congestion and won’t save lives: they are bad news for everyone. The EU must defend the law and send a strong signal that megatrucks are not the solution to the damage caused by road transport.”

    “If the Netherlands wants to create a more efficient road transport sector it should follow Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland
    by rolling out a national distance-based lorry charging scheme.  Belgium, France, Hungary, Poland and Spain have also recently announced plans to introduce or expand lorry charging schemes.  The Netherlands should be looking forward with a smart, high tech solution, not old-fashioned ‘bigger is better’ thinking.”

    Opinion polls in France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK have found that the public overwhelmingly reject megatrucks, with between 75 and 81% against. (6)

    (1) See
    (2) Directive 96/53/EC, Article 4, point 5
    “Member States may allow vehicles or vehicle combinations incorporating new technologies or new concepts which cannot comply with one or more requirements
    of this Directive to carry out certain local transport operations for a trial period.
    (3) Significance / CE Delft report for T&E
    (4) See Fraunhofer study:
    (5) European Commission Joint Research Centre study: