Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - In some parts of the European Union, such as the rural and island areas of Scotland, there is simply no alternative to road transport for the distribution of goods or passengers. For that reason, excessively restricted working hours for lorry and coach drivers would add to the difficulties already faced by residents and businesses, bringing further increases in costs of essential goods and services. I will therefore vote against amendments which seek to apply even greater reductions in driving time than contained in the Commission's proposal. If EU regulations are to be seen as relevant, due account must be taken of the realities facing rural and island communities. I hope that the final proposal in relation to drivers' working hours will recognise that some areas, such as the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, require a flexible approach to be taken and I hope that the Council and Commission will agree.

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