Swedish lorry move shows Brussels ‘hasn’t thought this through’
With the battle over whether oversized lorries, known as ‘megatrucks’, should be allowed to cross EU national borders, an extension of the fight is now emerging as Sweden has given the green light for even longer lorries to operate between Göteborg and Malmö. T&E is worried that the Commission’s proposed ‘reinterpretation’ of existing weights and dimensions rules for lorries would effectively leave Europe with no limits at all.
In 2008, the Swedish traffic administration allowed so-called ‘superlong’ trucks (the Swedish word is ‘superlang’) to operate in the north of the country. This ruling, known as the ETT Project, allowed a lorry to add another trailer when transporting logs. That made the maximum lorry limit permitted in Sweden 30 metres in length and 90 tonnes in weight; by contrast, the controversial megatrucks maximum limits are 24 metres and 60 tonnes.
Following the results of the ETT Project, Sweden has allowed even longer lorries (32.5m) to use specified roads between its two principal cities in the south, Göteborg and Malmö. Swedish traffic authorities say more trials across Sweden are being planned, but what is worrying environmental groups is that as Denmark is supporting the Commission’s proposed ‘reinterpretation’ of existing lorry rules that would allow megatrucks to cross borders (currently they are only allowed to operate within the borders of EU nations), it would leave to no lorry limits within the EU.
T&E deputy-director Nina Renshaw said: ‘This shows that the Commission has not thought this through. Because of the permission to use mega-megatrucks between Göteborg and Malmö, these lorries are now close to urban areas, using road space with other traffic, and using a route with a good rail link and spare capacity. Perhaps more importantly, they are now at the border with Denmark, so if the Commission decides it can allow megatrucks because its rules don’t limit lorry sizes, then any size of lorry could be permitted, and we’d have 90-tonne lorries crossing between Sweden and Denmark on the first day they’re allowed.’
A short news item from Swedish television showing the mega-megatrucks is available here.