Amidst widespread concern over the European Commission’s proposals for an EU-wide Super-MoT, MAG attended a meeting yesterday hosted by the Roads Minister Stephen Hammond MP with his officials from the Department for Transport.
The purpose of the meeting was to update us on progress to date, explain the UK’s position and gather comments from stakeholders including riders, the motorcycle industry, historic and classic vehicle organisations, car manufacturers, agriculture, small businesses, hire companies, etc.
It soon became apparent that MAG’s position on RWT has been spot-on and that all of our concerns are being defended by the DfT with, for the most part, support from other EU member states.
A “Grand Alliance” of member states want to keep flexibility and minimise the impacts of future changes. The intention is to “completely defeat” the Commission’s proposals, creating a more permissive Directive that allows the UK to leave things essentially as they are.
The proposal to use RWT as a means to enforce Type-Approval rules – causing complications for vehicles that have been modified or were built before TA – has been rejected by the member states.
In response to an extended question from Nich Brown (MAGs Gen Sec), the Minister said the UK and other governments are working to ensure the Commission provides real-world evidence of the need for, and cost of change BEFORE proposals are made.
The failure of the Commission to present evidence (either at all, or of decent quality) to justify its proposals is something that member states are generally very unhappy about, the Minister said he and his officials are “very much alive to the Commission cherry-picking it’s sources”.
Most of the member states were said to have “roundly ridiculed” the Commission for using DEKRA’s claim that defects were relevant in 8% of bike collisions.
The member states have already agreed that mopeds should not be subject to RWT and those with the most interest in the motorcycle RWT want to get bikes removed entirely from the proposals. The DfT believe there should be different tests appropriate to the kind of vehicle.
Requirements which threatened existing bike MoT stations that are part of repair and retail shops have been rejected.
The member states do not agree that MoT stations should have to invest in new equipment, eg; noise meters or brake fluid and shock absorber testing equipment. At this stage it looks like the cost of equipment has been roughly halved and there are moves to reduce this further.
The member states want to remove almost all trailers towing, or towed by, bikes/trikes from the RWT proposals and also remove the proposal to register them at DVLA (there are also moves to exempt trailers under 3.5t including caravans).
The wording that suggests the need to dismantle parts of vehicles for visual inspection is being challenged.
The current option for member states to exempt vehicles built before 1960 would be replaced by an option to exempt vehicles at 30 years old subject to various requirements.
The requirement to carry an RWT certificate on the vehicle appears to have been dropped.
Although the news is generally very positive, there is a long way to go yet and no guarantee that the views of the UK will win through.
The Commission has not accepted the criticism or the changes demanded by the member states; it appears the Commission will have to give in but in the meantime they are trying to salvage as much as they can.
We will as always, keep you informed.