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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 5 June 2014

Road transport: Council backs safer and greener lorries

Transport ministers, meeting today in Luxembourg today, backed proposals for new EU rules to allow manufacturers to develop more aerodynamic lorries which will reduce fuel consumption by 7-10%, cut greenhouse gas emissions and enhance the safety of vulnerable road users such as cyclists The Commission welcomes the decision by Transport Ministers to back the proposals but regrets that Ministers are proposing to apply an 8 year delay before the new rules come into force.

Vice-President Siim Kallas, in charge of transport, said: "We urgently need to improve the shape of the lorries on our roads. The current dimensions tend to produce a brick shape which is one of the least aerodynamic shapes you can imagine. There is no need to make society wait almost a decade to have cleaner and safer lorries on the roads. I hope that with the help of the European Parliament we can remove any delay and bring the new designs to the market as soon as possible."

The proposed new rules will allow cabs with a rounded shape and foldable aerodynamic devices at the back of the trailer. These measures will considerably improve the aerodynamics of vehicles, saving approximately €5,000 per year in fuel costs for a typical long-distance lorry covering 100,000 km. This represents a 7–10% cut in greenhouse gas emissions (or 7.8 tonnes of CO2 for the same long-distance lorry covering 100,000 km). At the same time, the field of vision of the driver will be improved and new safety devices like energy absorbers could be deployed, helping to save the lives of 300 to 500 vulnerable road users such as pedestrians or cyclists every year.

The Commission regrets that the agreement by ministers waters down provisions to strengthen the enforcement to tackle the problem of overweight heavy goods vehicles - which cause road damage, are a risk to road safety and distort competition. The Commission hopes that with the backing of Parliament these provisions can be reinstated in the final negotiations.

Ministers agreed that provisions on cross border operations should remain as it is in the current legislation (Directive 96/53/EC). The Commission, in a declaration, reminded ministers of its interpretation of the existing legislation allowing current practices.

What's next?

The agreement by transport ministers, should pave the way for the new rules to be adopted by the end of 2014 or in early 2015. Once the new Parliament is in place, trilogues are set to start under the Italian Presidency.

Follow Vice-President Kallas on Twitter

Contacts :

Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)

Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)

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