Mineral Products Association urges action on volumetric concrete mixer regulation
The Mineral Products Association has renewed its call for volumetric concrete mixers to be brought into the O-licensing regime, almost three years since a consultation into the matter closed.
Volumetric mixers are currently classified as “engineering plant” by the DfT, meaning their operators do not require an O-licence; do not have to put them through regular roadworthiness tests; and do not have to comply with HGV weight limits.
In contrast, HGV concrete mixers are fully regulated under the O-licence system.
Following the outcome of a consultation that closed in 2015, the DfT proposed that operators of volumetric concrete mixers will be required to hold an O-licence, but to date there has been no commitment on timing. It also suggested that they should be subject to annual roadworthiness testing.
It proposed that volumetric concrete mixers should be allowed to operate at weights 20% higher than HGV limits until 2032.
Jerry McLaughlin, the Mineral Product Association’s director of economics and public affairs, described the lack of regulation as a “significant historic regulatory failure”.
He said: “Everyone knows that most volumetric concrete mixers are HGVs using a legal loophole to avoid reasonable regulation.
“At a time when much of the construction industry and responsible HGV operators are taking concerted action to improve road safety, notably for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, government has not applied safety critical HGV rules to a growing number of unregulated volumetric concrete mixers on our roads.”
A DfT spokeswoman said a decision on the matter is expected soon, but could not give a firm indication of timing.
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DAF optimistic for 2018 despite mixed economic signals
There is still a good level of demand for trucks in the UK, despite mixed economic indicators, according to DAF MD Robin Easton.
Speaking at a press briefing in London, Easton said the manufacturer’s market forecast for trucks over six tonnes in 2017 will be around 44,000 units - better than the 41,000 the company predicted 12 months ago.
He said: “The breakdown of our orders this year have followed a familiar trend, approximately 70% of our orders are for rigids with 30% for tractors. Also, approximately 70% of our orders are above 16 tonnes with 30% in the six to 16 tonne bracket.”
Easton, who took over from Ray Ashworth nine months ago, said this year DAF will again achieve around a 30% share in the above 6-tonne segment. With regards to 2018, DAF is forecasting a UK market for trucks greater than six-tonnes of around 41,000 vehicles.
He said: “On a positive note the UK is experiencing reasonable GDP growth - 1.5% in 2017 - and record employment levels. Conversely, consumer confidence is falling, retail sales are now falling and new car sales have been falling for seven consecutive months.”
Easton said only time will tell if the industry be able to shoulder the additional cost of early replacement and a drop in the value of Euro-5 vehicles as a result of the introduction of clean air zones. “Once local municipalities converge on a single clean air standard then demand for Euro-6 vehicles will be robust”, he said.
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