Answer given by Mr Kallas on behalf of the Commission
Article 4 of Council Directive 96/53/EC(1) laying down the maximum authorised dimensions in national and international traffic and the maximum authorised weights in international traffic for certain road vehicles circulating within the Community stipulates that, under certain conditions, Member States can allow national circulation of heavy good vehicles with dimensions deviating from those laid down in specific points of its Annex I, provided that they inform the Commission thereof.
The Commission has been informed at the end of 2008 about the intention of Denmark to allow trials with gigaliners within its borders. It has not received any notification from any Member State on cross-border trials, which in any case are not in conformity with the provisions of the directive.
If the Commission would receive notice of a cross-border use of gigaliners, it would ask the authorities of the concerned Member State(s) for clarifications. In case this cross-border use was confirmed and the Member States' authorities would not intervene to stop it, the Commission would proceed against these Member States for infringement against the directive.
The Commission will deal with any infringement case against provisions of the directive.
The Commission would like to reassure the Honourable Member about its full appreciation of the fact that any change to Directive 96/53/EC on the weights and dimensions of heavy goods vehicles needs to be carefully assessed as to its implications for intermodal competition, road safety, the infrastructure, the environment, the overall social dimension and in general for the European economy. The two workshops held in 2008 and 2009 and the two studies (one performed between 2008 and 2009 by a consortium led by T&M — Transport & Mobility Leuven, Belgium, the other starting now for one year and run by a consortium led by TRL — Transport Research Laboratory, UK) will provide the Commission services with the necessary information and analysis to consult all interested stakeholders. These studies have cost DG TREN EUR 260 591 and EUR 287 130.75 respectively, whilst for the two workshops held in 2008 and 2009 DG TREN spent EUR 566.80. No support or funding was provided by third parties.