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New MOT testing could hit small businesses

EU plans to introduce additional MOT testing on light trailers and tractors have been opposed by MEPs in Brussels.

The plans are part of the European Commission's 'roadworthiness package', which intends to align the UK with minimum EU standards on MOT testing.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said that the introduction of new tests would 'disproportionately hit small and micro rural businesses' and 'impair their ability to create jobs and growth.'

Under the EU proposals, light trailers below 3,500kg and agricultural tractors would need to undergo additional MOT testing. Roadside inspections of commercial vehicles and the suspension or cancelling of registration certificates would also be introduced.

There are around 1.25 million lightweight trailers in the UK, with a 2009 Department of Transport study finding that a national registration scheme could cost the UK up to £237 million.

The European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee decided to:

  • reject the mandatory roadworthiness test for motorcycles 
  • reject the testing of trailers under 2,000 kg
  • vote in favour of testing light caravan trailers 
  • vote in favour of testing tractors used for road haulage with a maximum speed of more 40 km/h; but,
  • reject the testing of similar spec tractors used for agricultural work.

The first full EU member vote on the roadworthiness package is scheduled for July.