32 block checks – that’s what the Austrians in Tyrol have planned for this year. That is five more than in 2018. The Alpine region ignores the complaints from Italians and Bavarians to the European Commission and warnings from Brussels. In addition to the so-called Anti-Transit Package, the local government is also preparing a Truck Transport Control Package.
The government in Tyrol presented a calendar of further block checks in Kufstein Nord. So far, the dates until the end of June are known. The regional authorities have explained the application of this solution with a desire to improve road safety and reduce exhaust emissions. The dates for checks were set on the basis of a traffic analysis by experts, the police and the administrator of the Austrian motorways ASFINAG.
The checks usually take place on days when the Brenner and Inntal motorways are the busiest (mainly after and before public holidays in Germany, Austria and Italy). They consist in passing a maximum of 300 trucks through the border every hour.
Dates of block checks in 2019
– 24 April, Wednesday after Easter,
– 26 April, Friday before the national holiday in Italy,
– 2 May, Thursday after the Labour Day,
– 27 May, Monday before the Ascension Day,
– 28 May, Tuesday before the Ascension Day,
– 29 May, Wednesday before the Ascension Day,
– 30 May, Friday after the Ascension Day,
– 6 June, Thursday before Whitsun,
– 11 June, Tuesday after Whitsun,
– 12 June, Wednesday after Whitsun,
– 13 June, Thursday after Whitsun,
– 17 June, Monday before Corpus Christi,
– 18 June, Tuesday before Corpus Christi,
– 19 June, Wednesday before Corpus Christi,
– 21 June, Friday after Corpus Christi,
– 1 July, Monday,
– 8 July, Monday,
– 15 July, Monday,
– 22 July, Monday,
– 29 July, Monday,
– 16 August, Friday after the day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
– 4 October, Friday after the Day of Unity of Germany,
– 28 October, Monday,
– 4 November, Monday after All Saints’ Day,
– 5 November, Tuesday after All Saints’ Day,
– 7 November, Thursday,
– 12 November, Tuesday
– 14 November, Thursday,
– 21 November, Thursday,
– 28 November, Thursday.
Tyrol not only increased the number of checks this year but also introduced additional bans on truck traffic on Saturdays till noon. In addition, it plans to implement the so-called Anti-Transit Package and the Truck Transport Control Package, which will also make international transport on the Tyrol route much more difficult.
In October 2018 the Tyrol’s Landtag (parliament) approved the so-called Anti-Transit Package, which is due to come into force on 1 October, i.e. in a little more than six months’ time. This package includes a number of measures to improve the air quality, safety and health of Brenner residents, as well as to relieve congestion when it comes to the road infrastructure. As announced by the Tyrol government, a sectoral ban on truck traffic in the region will be extended to further groups of goods. In addition, the special permits for vehicles meeting the EURO 6 emission standard will be abolished.
The package also provides for a general traffic ban for EURO 4 trucks. EURO 5 trucks will not be able to pass through Tyrol from 2021. Then the night traffic ban for EURO 6 trucks will also apply.
The new restrictions planned by Tyrol are severely criticised by trade organisations from Italy and Bavaria. Italian Transport Minister Danino Toninelli addressed the European Commission this month on the Tyrolean legislation that restricts transit and protects local people.
Truck Transport Control Package
Checks and traffic bans are only part of what the Tyrol’s parliament is planning. The Tyrol government is also planning to tighten controls on trucks in order to improve road safety. The regional authorities have presented the Truck Transport Control Package, which provides for various measures. Among other things, truck traffic on the B179 will be “dosed” and a special police group will be set up which will focus on checking trucks.
Officers are to tighten controls on trucks. For 120 days a year, officials and the tax police will check that drivers meet all minimum wage requirements. According to the German transport portal verkehrsrundschau.de, it is primarily about limiting traffic, especially with regard to foreign trucks.
Warning from Brussels
It is worth recalling that in April last year, after the intervention of Bavarian carriers, the European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, urged the Austrians to reduce the number of checks. According to the European Commission, they are “disproportionate and not very helpful”.
In Bulc’s view, the systematic application of block checks infringes the free movement of goods, which is one of the fundamental principles of the functioning of the European Union.