English - Nooteboom Giants on the Road Magazine English - Nr. 6 - 2019 | Page 26

GIANTS ON THE ROAD Exemptions in Spain CLEAR REGULATIONS THE REGULATIONS REGARDING EXEMPTION APPLICATIONS FOR A SPECIAL TRANSPORT VARY WIDELY IN THE MEMBER STATES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. IN SPITE OF THE EFFORTS OF ESTA AND VARIOUS OTHER ORGANISATIONS - THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE ONE SINGLE EUROPEAN EXEMPTION SYSTEM – THIS SITUATION IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS. IN SPAIN THE GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR EXEMPTIONS ARE FAIRLY STRAIGHTFORWARD, BUT THE SYSTEM ALSO CONTAINS NUMEROUS EXCEPTIONS. EUROPE Years ago ESTA submitted a proposal for a simplified exemption system within Europe. This proposal was not even taken into consideration in the EU, for at least four reasons. The main reason is that abnormal transport is by definition ‘non-statutory’. In every EU member state one – or sometimes even more than one – organisation is given the mandate to issue exemptions for vehicles that exceed the maximum legal dimensions and weight. These regulations often differ per region or province. The second reason is the variety of local conditions that prevail in Europe. Wide motorways require a different policy than narrow mountain roads. And if we consider the various load capacities and maximum height for bridges and viaducts as well as totally different 26 weather conditions, it is clear that the regulations are adapted to local conditions. The third reason lies in the past. Between 1960 and 1970 the first heavy and large transports appeared on the roads. Usually the police – in consultation with the road authority – decided whether a route was suitable. This created considerable variations per municipality and region. The European roads are administered by thousands of different road authorities who all have their own opinion about their little piece of the road network. The final reason: in most European countries a local transport operator will have an advantage when applying for an exemption. This may evoke negative, nationalist feelings but in most cases this is not justified. A local transport operator is best placed to