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| YOU ARE VIEWING ARTICLE - ID:20140111013 |
|Title:||MOTs for Caravans Looking Unlikely|
|Author:||Caravan Club |
|ID & Publication:||20140111013 ~ The-Villager.co.uk |
|Subject:||Letters to the Editor |
Strong indications that The Club’s influence has been successful, may be the best Christmas present tourers could wish for
Following the latest series of meetings of EU officials in Brussels during November and December, The Club understands that all its efforts may well have been successful, and it is now looking likely that caravans and other light trailers will be removed from the scope of proposed testing. Two further votes; one in the European Parliament Transport Committee (likely to be January) and one in the full Parliament (probably in February), still need to be conducted before it is certain. However, feedback from both Brussels and Westminster suggests a positive outcome, one that The Caravan Club thinks is correct.
From the first suggestion of these tests, The Club believed that the scheme was flawed and would not have the desired effect of increasing road safety. The Club was extremely disappointed with the outcome of the initial votes in the European Parliament Transport Committee (30 May 2013) and full Parliament (2 July 2013) which fell in favour of caravan testing, after all the evidence it presented to indicate the scheme would have a detrimental effect on many tourers, and the resulting economy, for little, or no, positive return.
The Club felt so strongly that the votes were made without reference to the relevant evidence to allow an informed judgement it decided to take the argument to Europe itself. The Club led the campaign undertaking activities such as:
1) Working closely with the Dutch touring club, the ANWB, with support from the Danish motoring club, the FDM, to compile evidence on the MOT issues
- Serious accident numbers involving caravans were low, and had reduced steadily over the past decade. This showed that this was not a sector which required prioritisation as far as road safety was concerned
- Both the accident rate and the reduction in accident numbers were virtually identical in the UK and in Germany, despite the latter having a longstanding roadworthiness inspection scheme broadly similar to an MOT, indicating that the overwhelming majority of caravan accidents are not the result of roadworthiness issues
2) Getting the message heard – with assistance from the European Bureau of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile in Brussels and the ANWB, The Club was able to talk to the right people
3) Club representation in Brussels personally met with key UK and Continental MEPs in the European Parliament on behalf of its committees and one million members to raise and discuss concerns
4) Reports and papers, compiled of evidence, were delivered to key delegates involved with the meetings attended by representatives of the European Parliament (MEPs), the Council (the national Government representatives) and the Commission (the EU’s administrators). These meetings are crucial in defining the position of both the Council and the Parliament ahead of their formal votes, and are perhaps in some ways more important when trying to exert influence than the more formal meetings
Marketing Director for The Caravan Club, Tony Hall says, ‘It is through these efforts, we believe we have made sure that relevant, compelling evidence to support our position, has been placed before those who are most influential in the debate on roadworthiness testing. While The Club cannot dictate the outcome of this process, we believe we have ensured that the decision makers are now in a position to make informed judgements on this issue. Of course the results are not a given, but early indications do suggest that the votes will go against the proposals, which is the best we can hope for at this stage.’
Hall continues, ‘The Club will always support practical and effective measures aimed at improving road safety, along with its fundamental desire to ensure caravanning remains a safe activity. As the largest representative organisation for caravanners in Europe, the largest insurer of caravans in the UK and the largest provider of caravan towing training in the UK, The Club firmly believes the small number of caravan related accidents which do occur, are the result of factors which would not be addressed by the introduction of roadworthiness testing.’
The Caravan Club would like to reassure its members, and all tourers, that it will continue to keep on top of the required activity to ensure that the relevant evidence is heard, right up until the votes take place.
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