European Scrutiny Committee Contents

3 Vehicle type approval



+ADDs 1-2

COM (10) 395

Draft regulation (EU) No …/… on the approval of agricultural or forestry vehicles

Legal baseArticle 114 TFEU; co-decision; QMV
Document originated23 July 2010
Deposited in Parliament30 July 2010
Basis of considerationEM of 7 September 2010
Previous Committee ReportNone
To be discussed in CouncilNot known
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionNot cleared, further information requested


3.1 The Commission's 2006 initiative CARS 21 (Competitive Automotive Regulatory System for the 21st Century) recommended simplification of the current whole vehicle type approval regulatory framework.

3.2 The existing EU regulatory structure for type approval for agricultural and forestry vehicles has evolved over the past thirty-five years and currently consists of a framework Directive, Directive 2003/37/EC, 23 separate Directives and many amending Directives. This means that the industry and regulators must currently be aware of around 60 Directives and ensure that they are correctly transposed into national law or applied as appropriate — this is considered to be a costly, burdensome process.

The document

3.3 This draft Regulation follows on from the CARS 21 recommendation. The aim is to significantly simplify the agricultural and forestry vehicle type approval legislation by replacing the existing regulatory structure with this Regulation and, under powers to be delegated to the Commission, four implementing Regulations. That is, in common with other legislation in the area of EU type approval, there would be a 'split-level approach'. The two levels would be:

  • fundamental provisions to be laid down in this draft Regulation; and
  • technical specifications implementing the fundamental provisions to be laid down at a later date, by the Commission assisted by a technical committee, in delegated legislation.

3.4 The new Regulations would be directly applicable and so would not require transposition into national law.

3.5 The draft Regulation sets out the first step — the fundamental provisions for the type approval of agricultural and forestry tractors, their trailers, towed equipment and mobile machinery, their components and separate technical units. The Regulation would repeal the existing framework Directive 2003/37/EC, the 23 existing separate Directives and their amendments and set out the fundamental road safety, occupational safety and environmental performance requirements that would apply, including the acceptance of approvals to other international standards (commonly UN-ECE standards). It would extend EU whole vehicle type approval to all categories of tractor and require trailers, towed equipment and mobile machinery to be approved either to the EU system or a national scheme. However, the intention is to allow manufacturers to choose whether to apply for:

  • EU whole vehicle type approval; or
  • national type approval (if such requirements exist in the Member State where the vehicle is to be supplied); or
  • not to apply for an approval at all if the Member State does not require national type approval (Member States could however require manufacturers to self-certify to national standards).

3.6 Vehicles having an EU approval would have to be accepted for entry into service throughout the EU, so manufacturers would need only to have each type of vehicle approved once for that vehicle to have access to the whole single market.

3.7 Allowing manufacturers to choose means that they could opt for the national requirements that apply in the market they wished to supply. National type approval schemes less onerous than full EU type approval would be permitted, but only if suitable alternative requirements were laid down. However, vehicles approved under national schemes would not necessarily be accepted for registration, sale or entry into service in other Member States.

3.8 The draft Regulation would maintain current construction standards except for braking systems, where new mandatory requirements are to be set for:

  • the mandatory fitting of anti-lock braking systems on some tractors and their trailers suitable for speeds above 40 km/h (24.85 mph);
  • shorter braking distances; and
  • improved compatibility between tractors and trailers or towed equipment.

3.9 Details of these requirements would be in the delegated legislation.

3.10 The draft Regulation would require manufacturers to:

  • make freely available training material;
  • provide standardised access to vehicle repair and maintenance information; and
  • make available, on a non-discriminatory basis, the relevant on-board diagnostic and vehicle repair and maintenance information to any interested component, diagnostic tools or test equipment manufacturer.

The Government's view

3.11 The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Transport (Mike Penning) says that the Government is still considering the policy implications of this proposal, but it has a number of initial comments. He comments that the Government welcomes the principle of simplification, but feels that making a precise assessment of the impact of the proposal is difficult without details of the new requirements for braking systems and clarification of whether the proposal:

  • requires mandatory EU whole vehicle type approval for all tractors; and
  • gives manufacturers of trailers, towed equipment and mobile machinery a choice between EU whole vehicle type approval, national type approval or no approval (currently, the UK does not require or offer national type approval for these vehicles but requires manufacturers to self-certify to national standards).

3.12 The Minister adds that the Government will seek clarification from the Commission and request that any notable impact not accounted for, in impact assessment accompanying the proposal, is assessed before the draft Regulation is agreed. He says also, about the Commission's impact assessment, that this relates to the introduction of the new legislation on an EU level. So, in order to determine the impact of the new Regulation on the UK, the Department for Transport will prepare a UK impact assessment. The Government is also planning a public consultation on the proposal.

3.13 The Minister comments further that:

  • the draft Regulation, through the proposed delegated legislation, would require mandatory fitment of anti-lock braking systems to the faster agricultural vehicles, which would harmonise EU construction requirements with those currently applied in the UK;
  • the requirement for braking systems that shorten stopping distances and improve compatibility between tractors and trailers or towed equipment should improve road safety, but may impose costs upon the sector;
  • allowing manufacturers to obtain type approval for tractors, trailers, towed equipment and mobile machinery should increase buyer confidence in their vehicles meeting appropriate safety and environmental standards and being compatible with each other;
  • initial views from representatives of the agricultural community are favourable, subject to the clarification of the proposal and suitable lead times;
  • representatives of those who produce and use agricultural quadricycles (for example some quad bikes and side-by-sides designed for farming purposes) would like to see specific provisions for these vehicles included in the proposal;
  • the proposal includes a number of provisions, such as access to repair and maintenance information, which would implement for agricultural vehicles the requirements that apply to other vehicles (for example cars, buses and goods vehicles) —this needs to be explored further as these provisions may not be suitable for agricultural vehicles;
  • the proposal, by introducing requirements for occupational safety for mobile machinery, may contain provisions that are in conflict with the Machinery Directive, Directive 2006/42/EC (as amended) — the Government will seek clarification from the Commission that this is not the case; and
  • whilst the new Regulation would be directly applicable to Member States and not in itself require transposition into national law, the revoked Directives would need to be repealed and effective enforcement methods and a national alternative to EU whole vehicle type approval might need to be provided — this might require national regulations to be implemented.


3.14 Whilst the aim to simplify the legislation on whole vehicle type approval for the agricultural and forestry sector is laudable, we note the Minister's initial caution about the detail of the draft Regulation. So before considering the proposal further we should like to hear about:

  • the Government's further consideration of the policy implications;
  • the outcome of the clarifications it is seeking;
  • the results of its impact assessment; and
  • the outcome of its public consultation.

3.15 Meanwhile the document remains under scrutiny.

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