Bennion: Welcome EU infrastructure investment

The Liberal Democrat European transport spokesman, Phil Bennion, has welcomed today’s adoption of an EU infrastructure package worth EUR 33bn between 2014 and 2020.

The ‘Connecting Europe’ programme will help fund and facilitate projects of common interest in the areas of energy, transport and infrastructure. The UK’s West Coast Main Line corridor is among the identified priority projects that would be eligible for EU funding.

Dr Phil Bennion MEP said: Continue reading

Bennion: Safer roads in the UK and across Europe

MEPs in Strasbourg today approved proposals for new EU rules to test the roadworthiness of vehicles and set minimum standards for technical roadside inspections with the aim of reducing the number of road fatalities across Europe by 50% between 2010 and 2020.

In the UK, the number of people killed in road accidents reported to the police dropped by 8% to 1,754 in 2012 from 1,901 in 2011.

UK Liberal Democrat European transport spokesperson Phil Bennion said:

“The UK has led the way on road safety standards. These proposed new EU rules aim to raise standards right across Europe. Continue reading

Bennion: Revised Electro-Magnetic Fields Directive ‘safe but practical’ for industry and hospitals

A revised proposal for the Electro-Magnetic Fields Directive adopted by the European Parliament inStrasbourgtoday is ‘safe, proportionate and practical,’ say Liberal Democrat MEPs, who lobbied hard for the original draft directive to be withdrawn.

The new text has been substantially modified after Lib Dem MEPS, especially former West Midlands MEP Liz Lynne, highlighted objections from industry and in particular health services that safety restrictions to prevent exposure to Electro-Magnetic Fields were so tightly drawn that technology such as hospital MRI scanners would be impossible to use.

Her successor, Phil Bennion MEP, the current Lib Dem Employment and Social Affairs spokesman, said the new proposals, supported by the UK government, were now practical and evidence-based.

“The previous EMF directive ruled out the use of MRI scanners in hospitals, by prohibiting nurses and other medical staff from being present in a scanner room with a patient during scans. Continue reading

Bennion: Better access to pensions for Brits living in the EU

UK Lib Dem Euro MP Phil Bennion welcomed today’s Employment Committee vote on the future of pension provisions in the EU.

The European Parliament report calls for a more coordinated approach to pensions, which would enable British citizens working abroad to transfer pensions more easily from one EU country to another.

While the EU does not decide how national governments run private and public sector pensions, the EU is increasingly assisting in the coordination of pension systems across borders.

 Phil Bennion MEP commented: Continue reading

Bennion: EU proposal to strengthen air passenger rights

The European Commission today unveiled new proposals to strengthen air passenger rights. West Midlands Lib Dem MEP Phil Bennion, who sits on the European Parliament Transport Committee, commented:


“This is a very welcome proposal which will close some of the glaring loopholes in the existing legislation. A significant change is the clarification of the “exceptional circumstances” under which airlines do not have to pay compensation, something I have long called for as a member of the Transport Committee. This means airlines will no longer be able to avoid paying out by pointing to issues like mechanical problems, and will prevent customers being dragged through long and expensive court cases. Airlines will also have to explain to passengers why they are being delayed no more than half an hour after the scheduled departure time, putting an end to uncertain and frustrating waits sitting on the runway or in the departure lounge.” Continue reading

Bennion: mandatory tachographs for vans and Landrovers are madness

Liberal Democrat MEP Phil Bennion has slammed the Greens in the European Parliament for their attempts to force all vehicles over 1.5 tonnes used for carrying goods to install digital tachographs.

The rejected Green proposals would have caused mayhem for millions of self-employed drivers, from farmers to plumbers. However, a Socialist proposal to include vehicles over 2.8t rather than the current 3.5t vehicles into the regulation originally introduced to ensure proper rest periods for long distance lorry drivers was adopted, meaning that there will be a potentially bigger administrative burden on larger vans.

Commenting after the votes on the revision of the 1985 tachograph regulation, Mr Bennion, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on transport in the European Parliament, said:

“These proposals from Green and Socialist MEPs are nothing short of reckless and would create mayhem for millions of small businesses and self employed drivers. Continue reading