What follows should be reassuring to opponents of gigaliners, giant trucks that can measure more than 25 metres and weigh 60 tonnes. The European Commission has opened a public consultation (that will run until 27 February) on revision of Directive 96/53/EC, which regulates vehicle weight and dimensions and which currently bans the free circulation of these trucks in the EU. Those who hope that the consultation will mark the end of this ban are in for a disappointment: in the explanation that accompanies its questionnaire, the Commission states clearly that it has no intention of authorising the circulation of these trucks at European level at this stage. There are still too many unknowns with respect to the long-term impact of such vehicles, it explains, in particular on infrastructures, road safety, the environment and modal shift.

There have been a number of studies on the subject demonstrating, depending on who has ordered the particular study, either the advantages (reduction in number of trips and in emissions) or the negative impact of such trucks (increase in traffic due to lower unit costs per trip, loss of market share for rail and increase in emissions). Before the year-end holidays, Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas acknowledged at a breakfast with the press that he had no opinion on the subject after having heard so many pro and con arguments. This is precisely what is stated in the explanation that accompanies the consultation. "Although the introduction of heavier and/or longer vehicles could...

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