Government: Finland’s efforts to influence the EU Weights and Dimensions Directive successful
The Government submitted a Union communication to Parliament on the European Commission's proposal for amending the Weights and Dimensions Directive. The proposal is in line with the main objectives of Finland’s proactive efforts to exert influence on the matter.
On 11 July 2023, the European Commission published proposals for the Greening Freight Transport Package. The Package includes measures to improve the efficiency and sustainability of transport. As part of the Package, a proposal was submitted for amending the Weights and Dimensions Directive. The Directive states the maximum authorised dimensions and weights of road vehicles that may be used in freight transport.
The proposed amendment to the Directive focuses on three key themes:
1. Raising the level of environmental protection in road freight transport.
2. Facilitating cross-border transport within the EU single market.
3. More effective enforcement of the Directive.
Finland's proactive efforts to exert influence in the EU are reflected in the proposal. It would appear that the revision of the Directive retains the Member States’ existing flexibility to allow for higher weight and dimension limits for heavy-duty vehicles in national transport.
Flexibility is important for Finland, as there have been several additions to the maximum dimensions and masses of vehicle combinations used in the Finnish transport market for decades. This will improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of transport and thus safeguard the competitiveness of industries.
The Government supports the general objectives contained in the amendment to the Directive. The proposal is in line with the main objectives set for Finland’s proactive efforts to exert influence on the matter. However, the Government considers it important that some of the entries in the proposal be clarified further.
It is the Government’s view that the regulation of cross-border transport be clear. The aim is to ensure the current cross-border freight transport between Finland and Sweden by continuing the advocacy work.
The Government considers that zero-emission vehicles used in heavy transport should be allowed additional dimensions and masses to promote the use of such vehicles in the transport sector. However, the burden on the road should be taken into account when considering the best ways to make use of the additions. According to the Government, the requirement for zero-emission cross-border traffic should be further specified and the impacts assessed in more detail.
The Government emphasises the importance of more efficient monitoring in order to ensure road safety. Member States should be given room for manoeuvre in the effective implementation of national monitoring.
The Government considers it important that the proposal does not significantly increase the administrative burden on companies and authorities.
Discussion on the Commission proposal will continue in the Working Party on Land Transport of the Council of the European Union in September 2023 under the leadership of the Spanish Presidency.
Veli-Matti Syrjänen, Senior Adviser, veli-matti.syrjanen(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 295 342 124 (31.8.-4.9.)
Elisa Vornanen, Senior Specialist, elisa.vornanen(at)gov.fi, tel. +358 295 342 054 (from 5.9. onwards)