EU vote could allow 60 tonne mega trucks on French roads

Supporters say it will help reduce CO2 emissions. If passed adaptations would need to be made including to French roundabouts

Mega trucks can weigh up to 60 tonnes
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The European Parliament in Strasbourg voted on Tuesday (March 12) for new guidelines on the weight and dimensions of vehicles that could pave the way to allow so-called “mega trucks” on French roads.

It voted to increase the weight of heavy goods vehicles from 40 to 44 tonnes and to allow border crossings for trucks weighing up to 60 tonnes.

The text now has to be negotiated with the European Council and Commission.

Mega trucks, often towing several trailers, can weigh up to 60 tonnes and measure over 25 metres long.

While the trucks are currently allowed in certain European countries, including Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and Germany, the new measures could boost their use across the EU, including in France, where they are currently banned.

Supporters say mega trucks would lower the carbon footprint of road transport – one longer truck would emit less CO2 than two separate smaller trucks.

“By transporting the same load with fewer vehicles and fewer trips, we can achieve significant emissions reductions,” said Isabel García Muñoz, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the Weights and Dimensions of Trucks.

García Muñoz added her Socialists and Democrats group in parliament has pushed for “more robust rules for the use of mega trucks with a prior assessment on their impact on road safety, infrastructure, modal cooperation and the environment.”

Strong opposition

But the move has provoked strong criticism from some environmental campaigners.

“Today’s vote goes against the Green Deal’s fixed objectives of decarbonising our transport,” said French Green MEP and head of the European Parliament’s transport commission, Karima Delli, in a statement.

“Who could seriously imagine that 60 tonne diesel mega trucks could help us reduce our CO2 emissions from heavy goods vehicles by 90% between now and 2050?” she added.

Delli called on France to “position itself firmly against mega trucks”, adding the trucks should not be allowed on French roads.

Writing in Libération on Monday, Delli said heavier trucks would degrade road infrastructure more quickly, noting the cost of the measure in France – including road adaptations to infrastructure such as roundabouts – would “be borne by the taxpayer”.

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