A PROPOSED BAN on caravans using the motorway network this Easter has been backed by the European Parliament.
The plan suggests touring caravans over 750kg MTPLM be prohibited on the motorway network from 7pm on Thursday 21 April until 8pm on Easter Monday – April 25. Caravans on the motorway will be led to the nearest motorway service area and forced to stay until the ban is lifted.
The ban follows an experiment on a stretch of the M5 in 2004, in which caravans were confined to the slow lane on Fridays and Saturdays during peak hours. Although the scheme was deemed a failure at the time, new research from Brussels suggests caravans need removing from the road entirely to ensure smooth running traffic at peak times. The effect is measured using the Aggregated Speed System (ASS)
which is the European standard for measuring traffic flow.
Brussels backs the plan
EU Caravan Commissioner Paolo Rilf says banning caravans on Easter weekend is a logical step.
“Building extra road capacity is expensive, so we asked L’Institute of Arterial Road Science (LIARS) in Paris to research which road users no-one likes. Caravanners came top of that list.”
Rilf goes on to explain that banning caravans from the motorway is a no-lose decision from as far as he can see.
“Let’s face it, no one likes to see caravans on the road, least of all during peak holiday times. We can’t actually legislate against caravans without invoking the Human Rights Act, but because motorways come under the control of the Highways Agency rather than the local authority, we’ve found a loophole that lets us ban them at certain times using long forgotten by-laws.
“If it works, we hope to extend the ban to all weekends between March and October. Caravanners will still be free to travel during the week and at night so their holidays will be largely unaffected’
But there are exceptions
Exceptions are in place. Caravans built outside the UK are permitted to travel to comply with restriction of foreign trade legislation. And caravans without number plates towed by commercial vehicles will be allowed on motorways as enforcement officers admit they are too scared to stop them.
The final decision on whether the ban will take place will be announced 1pm on April 1st.