The Government has been accused of trying to bury an EU court ruling that may force owners of lawnmowers and mobility scooters to take out motor insurance.
The Brussels Directive states that cover must be obtained for ‘any motor vehicle intended for travel and propelled by mechanical power’ after a ruling by the ECJ that an accident involving a tractor trailer on private land should have been covered by compulsory insurance.
Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said that it would probably lead to a rise in insurance costs for all British motorists.
UKIP’s transport spokesman Jill Seymour MEP accused the government of a “sneaky and sly” attempt to hide the effects of the ruling by delaying sending details to the Commons Transport Select Commmittee until Christmas Eve last year.
“This ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is absurd, but the apparent attempt by the roads minister Robert Goodwill to try to bury the news is equally absurd,” she said.
It means that we well as businesses and home owners having additional costs for maintaining lands, which may include increased costs for council tax payers, disabled people will be especially impacted by the ruling.
Conditions including Motor Neurone Disease as well as paralysis and terminal cancers mean some sufferers are reliant on mobility scooters for their independence. And these households are often plagued by paperwork for council tax rebates and care allowances while watching a loved one die.
“Mr Goodwill had been advised following the court ruling on September 4, 2014 that the EU could now force the owners of ride-on lawn mowers, golf buggies and mobility scooters to buy motor insurance, even though the vehicles are never used on a public roads,” Mrs Seymour said. “But he waited until just before Christmas Eve to alert the Commons select committee on transport with a letter in which he admitted the ECJ ruling was ‘not appealable.'”
Parliament went into recess on the 18th DEcember until 5th January 2015 and since there are no newspapers on Christmas Day, sending the letter when very few journalists were working made the likelihood of coverage slim.
Mrs Seymour added, “He also admitted that the Government is working ‘against the background of a ticking clock’ because if UK legislation is not quickly brought into line with this EU demand then the Government could be vulnerable to claims for damages.”
“No doubt Mr Goodwill was particularly ashamed that the Government will surrender to the EU and allow Brussels to demand that those who use mobility scooters must buy motor insurance,” the MEP said.
“This is yet another example of the way an EU court filled with foreign judges can overturn established and democratically-enacted British law. These judges ‘legislate from the bench,’ in this case by digging up an obscure clause in a 1972 directive to force us to change our laws to suit their philosophy of relentless interference in British law and British private property.”
A Conservative party spokesman said it was “clearly a bonkers ruling.’