After a visit to the Morgan Motor Company in Malvern, Lib Dem Euro MP Phil Bennion has written a strongly worded letter to the Transport Secretary urging him to implement part of an EU Directive that could affect future trade and production of the Morgan 3 Wheeler.
Under the EU Driving Licences Directive (Directive 2012/36/EC amending the third Directive on driving licences 2006/126/EC), the Morgan 3 Wheeler is classed as a motorbike under the scope of legislation which came into force in January this year.
The new rules mean the minimum age for a driver of a vehicle of this kind is 24 years, while licence holders also have to pass a motorcycle test before being allowed to drive it. However, the Directive includes a ‘derogation’ or option for EU Member States to reduce the minimum age for driving this type of vehicle to 21 years.
Phil Bennion MEP said:
“Morgan is an iconic British brand and it is vital that they can continue to produce and develop their range of niche specialist sports vehicles in Worcestershire.
“A reduction in the age limit to 21 years for driving the 3 Wheeler could significantly boost sales and I can see no safety argument for not having it.”
“I have written to the Secretary of State asking for a reduction in the age limit. I have also made the point to the Minister that the Morgan 3 Wheeler should be driveable on passing a normal car driving test, not just a motorbike test.”
“EU rules need to allow for niche manufacturers as well as big-selling brands. In this case the derogation is available – the British government needs to take it up.”
Based in Malvern Link, Morgan employs 180 people and has taken 1,000 orders for the 3 Wheeler in the past two years. The firm also produces between 500 and 600 hand-built four wheel sportscars in their range each year, with many going for export to Europe and North America.
All the cars at Morgan are hand-made and require skilled craftsmanship. The company uses materials from across the Midlands including ABT in Ross-on-Wye and Vitesse in Hinckley, who provide the frames, as well as sourcing super-formed aluminium from a specialist company in Worcester.
Mark Reeves, Development Manager at Morgan said:
“The minimum age of 24 years could affect future trade and deter families for example from investing in the Morgan 3 Wheeler if the driving experience cannot be shared by the whole family.
“We favour a reduction in the age limit to 21 years and want the UK Government to implement this.”
Note: Morgan is working closely with the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders). It is hoped that enough pressure can be placed on the UK Government to implement the change.
Photo: Phil Bennion MEP with Mark Reeves (Development Manager) and Matthew Welch from Morgan Cars looking at the engine of the Morgan 3 Wheeler at the company's iconic works in Malvern.