Boris: EU membership stopped safer cabs

Emma Shone
June 6, 2016

The UK’s EU membership prevented the mandating of direct vision cabs for London – such as the Mercedes-Benz Econic – according to the city’s former mayor Boris Johnson.

In an interview with FairFuelUK (FFUK) spokesman Quentin Willson, Johnson said: “In London we wanted to make the lorries safer on our streets to stop them from crushing cyclists – for the good of the drivers as well.

“How fantastic it would be if you could say to the truck industry, if you want a lorry going through London the cab has got to conform to certain specifications. But we couldn’t do it. Brussels says no.”

However, Johnson said that the UK being an EU member had prevented him from putting a “special tax” on foreign-registered vehicles travelling into the capital while he was mayor. “I often thought of putting a special tax on foreign-registered lorries coming into London. In the future, if we left, a mayor could say “I don’t want these international trucks – I’m going to put a charge on them”. You can’t do that at the moment because it would be held to be discriminatory.”

The MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip spoke to the campaign group in light of a FFUK poll that saw 83% of 448 surveyed HGV drivers say they wanted to leave the EU. Just 7% of the drivers said they wanted to stay in the EU, while 8% said they were undecided. The remainder said they did not plan to vote.

FFUK co-founder Howard Cox said: “Boris Johnson told us that he is in no doubt that being out of the EU will be better for UK motorists, white van men and our vital haulage industry. Cost of motoring, better emissions control and improved road transport infrastructure are the key benefits to Brexit.”

Cox added that FFUK had also approached the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign for interview but had heard nothing back at the time of publication.

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