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Reserve Forces: Road Transport Regulations

Volume 692: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What will be the impact of the European Union Drivers’ Hours Regulations (EC 561/2006), brought into effect on 11 April, on Voluntary Reserve Forces training activities. [HL3738]

The Ministry of Defence is in the process of assessing the impact that the EU regulation may have on Voluntary Reserve Forces’ training activities and is developing guidelines that outline how vocational drivers can manage their reserve service in accordance with the new EU regulation.

I will write to the noble Lord once the assessment of long-term impact of the EU regulation has been completed and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When a vocational driver who is also a member of the Voluntary Reserve Forces starts a training weekend on or after 7 pm on a Friday and finishes no later than 5 pm on the Sunday, at what time the driver is legally allowed to recommence work under the European Union Drivers’ Hours Regulations (EC 561/2006). [HL3739]

Under the European Drivers' Hours Regulations, a vocational driver must take a regular weekly rest period of at least 45 consecutive hours, which can be reduced down to 24 hours every other week, before recommencing work.

Unless the driver is able to complete the required weekly rest period before commencing weekend training as a member of the Voluntary Reserve Forces, the driver must take the required weekly rest period as soon as that training finishes.

This would mean that a driver who finishes training at 5 pm on a Sunday would not be able to recommence work until 5 pm on the following Monday (if taking a reduced rest of 24 hours) or 2 pm on the following Tuesday (if taking the full 45 hours).

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What short-term effect the European Union Drivers’ Hours Regulations (EC 561/2006) will have on the logistical support that the Territorial Army is able to provide for military operations. [HL3740]

EC 561/2006 does not apply to members of the Territorial Army once they are mobilised. We do not envisage that the introduction of the EU regulation will affect the logistical support that the TA is currently providing to military operations.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What long-term effect the European Union Drivers’ Hours Regulations (EC 561/2006) will have on the logistical support the Territorial Army is able to provide on military operations. [HL3741]

The Ministry of Defence is in the process of assessing the long-term impact that the EU regulation may have and is devising ways of minimising it. However, given the exceptional circumstances the Government will seek a formal derogation from certain aspects of the EU regulation for professional drivers who are members of the Voluntary Reserve Forces as soon as practicably possible. As my honourable friend the Minister of State for Transport (Dr Ladyman) promised the noble Lord when they met on 23 April, he will update Parliament when these details have been finalised. The final decision to grant the derogation rests with the European Commission.

I will write to the noble Lord once the assessment of long-term impact of the EU regulation has been completed and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.