Brussels urged to put brakes on MoT plans

17/9/12- Jake Robbins of Vintage Engineering, Hastings.  He is unhappy about proposed legislation concerning modifications to motor vehicles
17/9/12- Jake Robbins of Vintage Engineering, Hastings. He is unhappy about proposed legislation concerning modifications to motor vehicles

AN ENGINEER who makes custom parts for classic motorbikes fears he will lose up to half his trade if new EU laws on MOT tests are drafted in.

Jake Robbins, who runs Jake Robbins Vintage Engineering on the Ponswood Industrial Estate, St Leonards, says the proposed new rules would be disastrous for the industry.

The EU MoT will mean historic cars and bikes which have been modified with modern brakes for example to make them safer for other drivers and road users, will fail the new tests.

As the rules are currently written, anything taking a vehicle away ‘from standard’ will be deemed illegal. Many classic cars and bikes will be banned from the road because the parts the EU regulation allows them to get may not be in production anymore. It is estimated that up to two million cars in the UK would be affected by the legislation along with thousands of motorbike owners.

Jake currently makes parts for classic bikes such as forks for 1930s Triumphs.

He started his business in 2001 and runs it with his son.

He said: “I will lose 50 per cent of my trade. I would need to diversify into another form of engineering. I guess they are trying to regulate the industry and cut down on all the unregulated guys out there.

“If it is to protect us then it is my view that structural alterations to chassis and brakes and alterations to engine performance should be checked during the yearly mot for safety.

“If this a law that serves the major manufactures in the motor industry then we need to worry as the after market spares industry is a multi-billion pound industry shared by many businesses large and small, it is these businesses that will be hit.”

Steve Weir runs his own custom paintwork shop at the Britannia Enterprise Centre in Hastings. The 34-year-old fears he would have to close down his business if the EU gets its way. He raised the issue with South East MEP Nigel Farage during a recent visit to Hastings.

The father-of-four said: “I would not get anyone coming to me any more. I do a lot of paint jobs for Hot Rod guys and they would just stop altogether.

“This proposal would just ruin my job. It’s infringing on hobbies and our rights to be individual.

“When an owner builds a car it is as individual as the owner and with this proposed law the EU is telling us what we can and can’t paint.”

The proposals are currently being discussed by officials in Brussels. Mr Farage, who is also UKIP leader, said: “This is a thriving industry in Britain and one of the few areas where we still manufacture products. Yet during a recession the EU wants to harm businesses even more with this new, crazy regulation.

“There is no need for it, no call for it and the reason is baffling businesses and enthusiasts alike.

“If this does go through the European Parliament then Westminster will not have a chance to vote it down.”