Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP today in Strasbourg voted against the adoption of EU wide legislation on the charging of heavy goods vehicles.
 
The purpose of the legislation is to divert haulage from road to rail by imposing a “road use” charge on vehicles above 12 tonnes and a charge for pollution known as an “external cost”. However, the vast majority of Irish exports are sent to continental Europe by road using the UK as a land bridge.
 
Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP said today in the European Parliament “The reality is that this proposal will have a disproportionate impact upon the peripheral Member States in the European Union such as Ireland as centrally located Member States have the option of switching to rail.”
 
“According to the Irish Exporters Association a truck travelling from Ireland to mainland Europe via Holyhead and Dover will incur a new road use charge of 120 Euros and an external cost of 30 Euro. Therefore, a roundtrip will incur a fee of 300 Euro as a result of this legislation.”
 
“The main export sectors that will be affected include pharma, IT, medical devices, dairy and other food products. Moreover, the road haulage sector employs over 30,000 people in Ireland. The bottom line is that these new charges will increase the cost of transporting our exports into European markets.”
 
“I have voted against this report as the EU should be seeking ways to improve our competitiveness in line with the Europe 2020 strategy instead of introducing legislation which threatens our competiveness.”
 
The legislation required a qualified majority or two thirds of the European Parliament to pass. It was adopted today by 505 in favour and 141 against.