In some EU Member States, the use of Longer Heavier Vehicles is already permitted. In other Member States tests and trials are being prepared or being done. In the EU there is a debate whether or not to allow the transboundary transport of the so-called Ecocombi’s, vehicles with a total length of 25.25 meter and a total weight of 40 tons. At the moment, the maximum allowed length is 17.85 meter. In reply to written questions of the European Parliament, the Commission answered as follows:
“Directive 96/53/EC on weights and dimensions (LHV-001) and its revision (LHV-002) allows Member States to authorise the circulation for national transport on their own territories of vehicle combinations exceeding the maximum dimensions laid out in the Directive, such as the modular concept. This possibility is used by certain Member States for national transport operations, whereas others have conducted trials of it. The Directive already allows individual Member States to carry out trials of vehicles or vehicle combinations incorporating new technologies or new concepts in local transport operations for a limited period on national territory. The Commission carried out studies to assess the environmental, economic and social impact of vehicles such as the modular concept (LHV-003), with the objective of obtaining a neutral analysis of their impact (currently available studies show widely varying and disputed impacts). In view of a possible limited review of the Directive as announced in the White Paper on the Future of Transport to adapt it to technological progress, e.g. in the fields of vehicles' aerodynamics, the Commission will launch a stakeholders' consultation shortly.??
The revision of the weights and dimensions Directive may lead to a new proposal early 2013, which could bring clarification on the cross-border use of Ecocombi’s.
Some relevant documents:
LHV-003: Road Freight Transport Vademecum 2010 Report: Market trends and structure of the road haulage sector in the EU in 2010 (European Parliament and the Council)
LHV-002: Directive 2002/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 February 2002 amending Council Directive 96/53/EC laying down for certain road vehicles circulating within the Community the maximum authorised dimensions in national and international traffic and the maximum authorised weights in international traffic (European Parliament and the Council)
LHV-001: Council Directive 96/53/EC of 25 July 1996 laying down for certain road vehicles circulating within the Community the maximum authorised dimensions in national traffic and the maximum authorised weights in international traffic (European Council)