Deadline looms for new European trailer regulations

By Murray Pollok12 June 2012

Rental companies need to be aware of new regulations governing the European registration and type approval of trailers that come into force on 29 October 2012.

Although trailers already in service will not be affected, any trailer bought after 29 October will need to be type approved in accordance with European Directive 2007/46/EC. This includes small category O1 trailers up to 750 kg.

Trailers covered by the regulations will include products such as trailer mounted generators, compressors, lighting towers, aerial platforms, bowsers and pressure washers.

Rental companies and other buyers will need to check that their suppliers are able to comply with the new directive by 29 October and supply legally type approved trailers.

Hennie van der Heijden, founder and owner of Netherlands type approvals specialist Hestocon, told IRN that the new system will have benefits in that trailer regulations throughout Europe will be standardised. However, he said some manufacturers selling in Europe were unaware of the regulations and may struggle to process type approvals in time to meet the deadline.

"I'm afraid a lot of manufacturers will have problems", he said, "It takes months to get type approvals. For those trailers manufacturers who have not already started with the applications for type approval it will be very hard to achieve their Whole Vehicle Type Approval in time."

In addition, companies need to obtain company approvals before they apply for type approvals. "A compliance statement will only be granted by the authorities if the manufacturer's quality system meets the requirements for Conformity of Production as laid down in 2007/46/EC Directive", said Mr van der Heijden.

The new regulations will replace existing national trailer regulations in Europe and make it easier for trailers to be moved around and sold in Europe.

Despite the regulations there will still be some differences in the way that trailers are dealt with in Europe. In many European countries trailers need to be registered like cars and other on-road vehicles. That is not the case in the UK for O-category trailers (O1/2/3/4) and in the Netherlands and Belgium for smaller, category O1 trailers, and that will not change.

Useful background material and advice targeted at the UK market can be found at the Department of Transport website.

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