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Safety requirements for tunnels: Commission sends reasoned opinion to United Kingdom
Commission Européenne - IP/08/158 31/01/2008
Brussels, 31st January 2008
The European Commission sent today a reasoned opinion to the United Kingdom for failure to fulfil the reporting obligations under Directive 2004/54 on minimum safety requirements for tunnels. This Directive sets out technical requirements to reach a minimum level of safety of tunnels and shall apply to all tunnels in the trans-European road network, with lengths of over 500 metres.
Directive 2004/54 was adopted to put in practice at European level the lessons learned from tragic accidents that had occurred in Alpine tunnels a few years earlier. Member States are required to ensure that tunnels in their territory meet these minimum safety rules. The Directive is also aimed at coordinating the organisation of safety procedures and at clarifying roles and responsibilities.
The administrative authorities identified by the Member States had to assess by 30 October 2006 the compliance of the concerned tunnels with the Directive's requirements. Based on this assessment, Member States had to make a plan including a timetable for the gradual application of the Directive's provisions. By 30 April 2007 at the latest, Member States had to submit a report to the Commission on how they plan to meet these requirements.
United Kingdom was sent a letter of formal notice in June 2007. However, no information on compliance of tunnels and on planned measures or on the gradual application of Directive 2004/54 has been sent by the United Kingdom.
 Directive 2004/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on minimum safety requirements for tunnels in the trans-European road network (Official Journal of the European Union L 167 of 30 April 2004).