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Pulling a slow one: EU demand caravan MOT tests

Love them or loathe them, there is no doubt that there are a lot of them. The British buy more caravans than any other European country. The white boxes are a familiar sight on our roads but now caravans that have been much maligned and mangled by Top Gear face a new and even more dangerous threat: the EU bureaucrat. European politicians are planning to introduce an MOT style test for caravans, which could see Britain's estimated 500,000 caravan owners facing steep bills.

Love them or loathe them, there is no doubt that there are a lot of them. The British buy more caravans than any other European country. The white boxes are a familiar sight on our roads but now caravans that have been much maligned and mangled by Top Gear face a new and even more dangerous threat: the EU bureaucrat. European politicians are planning to introduce an MOT style test for caravans, which could see Britain's estimated 500,000 caravan owners facing steep bills. Under the legislation, to be discussed in September, all caravans over 750kg would be required to undergo a first MOT style safety check at four years old and then again every two years thereafter.

The plans, which are being resisted by the UK government on the grounds that they will impose unnecessary cost on caravan owners, are designed to harmonise legislation across the EU. The Caravan Club, which represents UK caravan owners, has condemned the proposals, claiming that they will not improve road safety. Their spokesman commented: "While acknowledging that some roadworthiness concerns do exist with a proportion of caravans, there is no evidence to indicate that such concerns result in a disproportionate accident rate. Indeed, the rate of reported accidents for caravans in the UK is extremely low and has been falling steadily for some years.''

The plans to implement the tests could cost £250 million and the Caravan Club fears that its members will be left holding the bill for setting up test centres and employing technical staff. It believes that a substantial majority of UK caravans will be liable for the tests. Their cause is being championed by Tory MEP Jacqueline Foster, who said: "As the Conservative Spokesman on Transport and Tourism, I have spent many months objecting to the inclusion of caravans in this proposed regulation. I believe it to be pointless and it would contribute nothing to improve road safety. It is accepted that our roads are among the safest in Europe. My view is that caravans are generally well maintained by their owners and used typically in good driving conditions with low annual mileage. With so many caravan owners across the United Kingdom, not least the one million members of the Caravan Club, this industry is worth more than £6 billion a year and contributes greatly to our local and national economies. I believe it is an important part of our leisure and tourism industry which we should be encouraging, not penalising."

Recently the EU and UK also clashed over European proposals to ban classic cars if they had any modifications.

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