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Transport: Livestock

Volume 464: debated on Thursday 11 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will set out the details of the relaxation of drivers hours restrictions for the transport of livestock, including the period for which the relaxation will apply, arising from the foot and mouth disease outbreak in Surrey. (157154)

The changes to the requirements of Regulation (EC) 561/2006 apply only to drivers who are wholly or mainly engaged in transporting cattle, pigs and sheep (including lambs) in connection with meeting the exceptional circumstances arising as a consequence of the foot and mouth outbreak.

They are

A daily driving limit of 10 hours (instead of the current nine hours);

A weekly rest period of 24 hours (instead of the current 45 hours);

No weekly or fortnightly driving time limits (currently 56 and 90 hours).

There is no change to the requirements for daily rest and breaks.

Drivers are also subject to the provisions of the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005 which impose limits on total working time (the period when a driver is at work rather than just driving). These regulations impose a maximum weekly limit of 60 hours. To allow drivers to use the full amount of additional driving time allowed, the weekly working time limit is raised by 10 per cent. from 60 to 66 hours (the maximum permissible under EU legislation).

The relaxation will remain in place initially until 4 November, but the situation will be kept closely under review with the relaxation either being revoked sooner or extended if appropriate. The approval of the European Commission would be required for any extension. Industry will be informed at that time.