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MPA welcomes Government decision on volumetrics

Volumetric truck

Association hails decision to align future regulation of volumetric concrete mixers with HGVs as a ‘victory for road safety’

THE Mineral Products Association (MPA) has welcomed the Government’s decision to align future regulation of volumetric concrete mixers with HGVs, describing it as ‘a victory for road safety and common sense’.

The MPA, which has been seeking equivalent regulation of volumetric concrete mixers and HGVs, says the decision announced this week by Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP means that regulations for volumetric concrete mixers and other HGVs will start to converge from 1 September 2018.

Currently, volumetric operators and drivers are able to operate significantly outside the normal HGV rules, with no Operator Licence requirement, no application of drivers’ hours or working time rules, no apparent requirement for HGV licences, and no effective vehicle weight limits.

According to the MPA, four-axle rigid volumetrics are often loaded to well in excess of 40 tonnes, compared with the equivalent 32-tonne weight limit for HGVs, due to a legal loophole that has resulted in volumetrics being defined as engineering plant rather than goods vehicles/HGVs.

The Department for Transport’s latest and previous announcements mean that volumetric operators will require operator licences and volumetric drivers will have to work to EU drivers’ hours and working time rules from September this year, and volumetric concrete mixers will be subject to HGV testing requirements.

Whilst the Minister’s decision to allow existing volumetrics to operate under a temporary regime to up to March 2028 at the latest is a longer transition period than the MPA was seeking, the Association says the package of measures announced means the Government has recognized that there is no underlying justification for a more limited regulatory regime for volumetric concrete mixers and that the current regulatory divergence between volumetrics and truckmixers needs to be closed.

The DfT has also accepted MPA’s view that there is no case for the previously proposed option of setting up a new, separate, regulatory regime for volumetric concrete mixers, which would have embedded their ability to operate to higher weights than equivalent HGVs. This proposal has now been formally dropped.

MPA executive director Jerry McLaughlin commented: ‘It is very positive that after many years of lax regulation of volumetric concrete mixers, Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP and officials are now taking action which will bring the regulation of volumetric concrete mixers in line with other HGVs.

‘We would have preferred a shorter transition period for vehicle weights but the policy direction is now clear and significant regulatory convergence will start in September this year. The Minister’s decisions are a victory for road safety and common sense.’

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