UK Road hauliers are facing another red-tape nightmare that will cost them £140 million a year following a European Parliament decision on driver training today.

Under the plans, backed by Labour MEPs, lorry drivers will be forced to sit exams on their dietary habits, the environmental impact of driving lorries and language training.

Conservative MEP, Sir Robert Atkins, former Conservative Transport Spokesman in the European Parliament, said immediately after the vote on the Grosch Report on the 'Training of Professional Drivers':

"I'm all for safer driving but this report is over-prescriptive and on the whole irrelevant to that end. What a driver eats, whether he or she chooses to learn another language should not be dictated by the European Commission".

"The costs from these extra training courses, that will take some 420 hours to complete, are close to £140 million a year and will be picked up by the industry itself, putting a massive strain on already overtaxed budgets."

"Chances are they will just offload the extra cost onto retailers and business's dependent on their services."

"This Report may force many of our small local companies out of business. Despite repeated assurances from the Government, Labour MEPs gave their full support to this report. Labour seems intent on acting against the interest of hauliers, road users and of course, business'."

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