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MODIFIED CARS SAFE, FOR NOW.

30/08/2012

Armageddon: postponed due to EU bureaucracy

 

That’ll teach us to big upa government press office – it’s taken until today to find someone at the Department for Transport willing to give us any comment. But the good news is you can put down the pitchforks immediately – the EU isn’t having its wicked way with your modified car anytime soon.You can read full statement below – and it won’t take up much of your time because it isn’t very long. But there’s an excellent reason for that, too.

The EU document that’s causing all the fuss is, in point of fact, nothing more than what it says it is: a proposal. This means it isn’t even draft legislation yet. So what’s actually happening at European level in September is merely the opening of the negotiation stage, where all the member states get to chime in and have their say. This is unlikely to be a swift and easy process…

With everything still firmly up for negotiation, the DfT says it is unwilling to get into the specifics at this moment. But it is working with the UK automotive industry – something we can confirm thanks to our colleague Darren Moss at CAT Magazine, who has already been speaking to people in the aftermarket trade – in effort to better understand the impact of what the EU may or may not be proposing to make law.

Darren also points out that many aftermarket vehicle parts are the same OEM bits as those used on the vehicle at the time it was type approved, so there’s no issue there. Many others are OES, so even if they’re not branded with the original vehicle manufacturers logo, they’re the same parts, from the same factory and are of identical quality.

Best of all, the DfT is adamant it will be “pushing back” against anything that has a cost implication for the government, the industry and – vitally – car owners as well. The press office was also keen to explain that EU legislation always takes a long time to go through. If there is a threat, it is very far from being an imminent one.

Perhaps most reassuringly, the bloke on the phone this morning literally burst out laughing when we explained some well-meaning folk fear the EU is attempting to outlaw modified cars entirely. Not a suggestion that this is a laughing matter, but a reflection of how absurd the idea is from any rational perspective.

On the other hand, if you want to make your own views heard, you could always track down Siim Kallas on Twitter, EU Vice President and commissioner for transport. Not that we could possibly condone that kind of thing.


Department for Transport statement:
“This document [the tendered EU Roadworthiness Package’] is a proposal rather than final legislation. As such, all Member States will have the opportunity to negotiate the final legislation and everything within the current document may be subject to change.

The Department has sought views on the proposals from the industry. We will be analysing the proposals to find out what impact they will have on businesses and motorists. We will question rigorously any provisions that imply costs for Government, people or industry and seek to minimise these. We will be taking an active part in the Working Group meetings starting this autumn.

It is still far too early to comment on specifics of the legislation as a number of the proposals could be changed or dropped.”

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