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ALL horsebox owners must fit their vehicles with new reflective strips under a European regulation. But H&H has helped delay the starting date for this rule by two years.

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) had issued guidelines saying that from 10 October all boxes over 7.5tonnes and trailers greater than 3.5tonnes need two-and-a-half inch retro-reflective strips, or “conspicuity markings”, on the back of the vehicle and “amber” stripes on the sides.

But when H&H told VOSA and the Department for Transport (DfT) that owners and manufacturers were completely unaware of the rules just days before their implementation, we were told plans had been put back until July 2011.

A VOSA spokesman said: “In view of the current economic situation this measure will not become mandatory until 10 July 2011 in order to reduce regulatory costs on vehicle manufacturers and the haulage industry.”

The regulation also applies to other HGV lorries on the roads.

It is estimated that marking boxes will cost owners between £120 and £400, depending on the size of the vehicle.

A DfT spokesman said the government decided to delay implementation of the EU directive on 16 September — three weeks before the markings were due to become mandatory.

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Read this story in full in Horse & Hound (8 October, 2009)