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Published by: eurolex on Nov 27, 2010
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COMMON POSITION (EC) No 24/2004adopted by the Council on 26 February 2004with a view to the adoption of a Directive 2004/. . ./EC of the European Parliament and of theCouncil of . . . on minimum safety requirements for tunnels in the trans-European road network
(2004/C 95 E/05)
Having regard to the Treaty establishing the EuropeanCommunity, and in particular Article 71(1) thereof,Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic andSocial Committee (
),Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of theRegions (
),Acting in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article251 of the Treaty (
In its White Paper of 12 September 2001 entitled‘European transport policy for 2010: time to decide’ theCommission announced that it would propose minimumsafety requirements for tunnels belonging to the trans-European road network.
The transport system, notably the trans-Europeantransport network defined in Decision No 1692/96/ECof the European Parliament and the Council of 23 July 1996 on Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (
), is of paramountimportance in supporting European integration andensuring a high level of well-being among Europe'scitizens. The European Community has the responsibility of guaranteeing a high, uniform and constant level of security, service and comfort on the trans-European roadnetwork.
Long tunnels of over 500 m in length are importantstructures which facilitate communication between largeareas of Europe and play a decisive role in the functioningand development of regional economies.
The European Council on several occasions, and notably atits meeting on 14 and 15 December 2001 in Laeken,underlined the urgency to take measures in order toimprove tunnel safety.
On 30 November 2001, the transport ministers of Austria,France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland met in Zurich andadopted a common declaration recommending thealignment of national legislation on the most recentharmonised requirements for improving safety in longtunnels.
Since the objectives of the proposed action, namely theachievement of a uniform, constant and high level of protection for all European citizens in road tunnels,cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member Statesand can therefore, by reason of the level of harmonisationrequired, be better achieved at Community level, theCommunity may adopt measures, in accordance with theprinciple of subsidiarity, as set out in Article 5 of theTreaty. In accordance with the principle of proportionality,as set out in that Article, this Directive does not gobeyond what is necessary in order to achieve thoseobjectives.
Recent accidents in tunnels emphasise their importance inhuman, economic and cultural terms.
Some tunnels in Europe, put into operation a long timeago, were designed at a time when the technical possi-bilities and the conditions of transport were very different from today's. There are thus disparate safety levels and these need to be improved.
Safety in tunnels requires a number of measures relating,among others, to the geometry of the tunnel and itsdesign, safety equipment, including road signs, trafficmanagement, training of the emergency services, incidentmanagement, information to users on how best to behavein tunnels and better communication between the auth-orities in charge and emergency services such as thepolice, fire-brigades and rescue teams.
As the work of the United Nations Economic Commissionfor Europe (UNECE) has already made clear, the conductof road users is a decisive aspect of tunnel safety.
Safety measures should enable people involved in incidentsto rescue themselves, allow immediate intervention of roadusers to prevent greater consequences, ensure efficientaction by emergency services and protect the environmentas well as limit material damage.
20.4.2004 Official Journal of the European Union C 95 E/31
) OJ C 220, 16.9.2003, p. 26.(
) OJ C 256, 24.10.2003, p. 64.(
) Opinion of the European Parliament of 9 October 2003 (not yetpublished in the Official Journal), Council common position of 26 February 2004 and position of the European Parliament of . . . (not yet published in the Official Journal).(
) OJ L 228, 9.9.1996, p. 1. Decision as amended by DecisionNo 1346/2001/EC (OJ L 185, 6.7.2001, p. 1).
The improvements brought by this Directive will improvesafety conditions for all users, including disabled persons.However, as disabled persons have more difficultiesescaping in case of emergency, particular considerationshould be given to their safety.
In order to implement a balanced approach and due to thehigh cost of the measures, minimum safety equipmentshould be set taking into account the type and theexpected traffic volume of each tunnel.
International bodies such as the World Road Associationand the UNECE have for a long time been makinginvaluable recommendations to help improve andharmonise safety equipment and traffic rules in roadtunnels. However, as these recommendations are notbinding, their full potential can only be maximised if therequirements they identify are made obligatory throughlegislation.
Maintaining a high safety level requires proper main-tenance of the safety facilities in tunnels. An exchangeof information on modern safety techniques and accident/incident data between the Member States should besystematically organised.
In order to ensure that the requirements of this Directiveare properly applied by the tunnel managers, MemberStates should designate one or more authorities atnational, regional or local level with responsibility forensuring that all aspects of the safety of a tunnel arerespected.
A flexible and progressive timescale is needed forimplementation of this Directive. This will allow forcompletion of the most urgent works without creatingmajor disturbances in the transport system or bottlenecksin public works in the Member States.
The cost of refurbishing existing tunnels variesconsiderably from one Member State to another,particularly for geographical reasons, and Member Statesshould be allowed to spread any refurbishment worksneeded to meet the requirements of this Directive wherethe density of tunnels on their territories is well in excessof the European average.
For tunnels already in operation or tunnels whose designhas been approved but which have not been opened to thepublic within 24 months following the entry into force of this Directive, Member States should be allowed to acceptthe adoption of risk-reduction measures as an alternativeto the requirements of the Directive, where the tunneldoes not allow for structural solutions to be implementedat reasonable cost.
Further technical progress is still necessary to improvetunnel safety. A procedure should be introduced toallow the Commission to adapt the requirements of thisDirective to technical progress. That procedure should alsobe used to adopt a harmonised risk analysis method.
The measures necessary for the implementation of thisDirective should be adopted in accordance with CouncilDecision 1999/468/EC of 28 June 1999 laying down theprocedures for the exercise of implementing powersconferred on the Commission (
Member States should submit a report to the Commissionon the measures they plan to adopt to meet therequirements of this Directive, with a view to synchro-nising works at Community level in order to reducetraffic disturbances.
When the requirements of this Directive necessitate theconstruction of a second tube for a tunnel in the designor construction phase, this second tube to be constructedshould be considered as a new tunnel. The same applies if the requirements of this Directive necessitate the openingof new legally obligatory planning procedures, includingplanning permission hearings for all related measures.
Work should continue in the appropriate fora in order toarrive at a large degree of harmonisation as regards thesigns and pictograms used on variable message signs intunnels. Member States should be encouraged toharmonise the user interface for all tunnels on theirterritory.
Member States should be encouraged to implementcomparable safety levels for road tunnels located in theirterritory that do not form part of the European road-transport network and consequently do not fall withinthe scope of this Directive.
Member States should be encouraged to develop nationalprovisions aiming at a higher tunnel safety level,
Article 1
Subject matter and scope
1. This Directive aims at ensuring a minimum level of safety for road users in tunnels in the trans-European road networkby the prevention of critical events that may endanger humanlife, the environment and tunnel installations, as well as by theprovision of protection in the case of accidents.
C 95 E/32 Official Journal of the European Union 20.4.2004
) OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23.
2. It shall apply to all tunnels in the trans-European roadnetwork with lengths of over 500 m, whether they are inoperation, under construction or at the design stage.
Article 2
For the purposes of this Directive, the following definitionsshall apply:1. ‘trans-European road network’ means the road networkidentified in Section 2 of Annex I to DecisionNo 1692/96/EC and illustrated by maps and/or describedin Annex II to that Decision;2. ‘emergency services’ means all local services, whether publicor private, or part of the tunnel staff, which intervene in theevent of an accident, including police services, fire brigadesand rescue teams;3. ‘tunnel length’ means the length of the longest traffic lane,measured on the fully enclosed part of the tunnel.
Article 3
Safety measures
1. Member States shall ensure that tunnels in their territory falling within the scope of this Directive meet the minimumsafety requirements laid down in Annex I.2. Where certain structural requirements laid down inAnnex I can only be satisfied through technical solutionswhich either cannot be met or can be met only at dispropor-tionate cost, the administrative authority as referred to inArticle 4 may accept the implementation of risk-reductionmeasures as an alternative to those requirements, providedthat the alternative measures will result in equivalent orimproved protection. The efficiency of these measures shallbe demonstrated through a risk analysis in conformity withthe provisions of Article 13. Member States shall inform theCommission of the risk-reduction measures accepted as analternative and provide justification therefor. This paragraphshall not apply in respect of tunnels at the design stage asreferred to in Article 9.3. Member States may specify stricter requirements,provided they do not contravene the requirements of thisDirective.
Article 4
Administrative authority
1. Member States shall designate (an) administrativeauthority(ies), hereinafter referred to as ‘the administrativeauthority’, which shall have responsibility for ensuring thatall aspects of the safety of a tunnel are respected, and whichshall take the necessary provisions to ensure compliance withthis Directive.2. The administrative authority may be set up at national,regional or local level.3. Each tunnel in the trans-European network located in theterritory of a single Member State shall fall under the respon-sibility of a single administrative authority. For each tunnellocated on the territory of two Member States, either eachMember State shall designate an administrative authority, oralternatively, the two Member States shall designate a jointadministrative authority. If there are two different adminis-trative authorities, the decisions of each one in exercise of itsrespective competencies and responsibilities related to tunnelsafety shall be adopted with the previous agreement of theother authority.4. The administrative authority commissions tunnels asdescribed in Annex II.5. Without prejudice to further arrangements on this subjectat national level, the administrative authority shall have powerto suspend or restrict the operation of a tunnel if safety requirements are not met. It shall specify the conditionsunder which normal traffic conditions may be re-established.6. The administrative authority shall ensure that thefollowing tasks are performed:(a) testing and inspecting tunnels on a regular basis and thedrawing-up of safety requirements pertaining thereto;(b) putting in place organisational and operational schemes(including emergency response plans) for the training andequipping of emergency services;(c) defining the procedure for immediate closure of a tunnel incase of an emergency;(d) implementing the necessary risk-reduction measures.7. Where bodies designated as administrative authoritiesexisted prior to the designation referred to in this Article,those administrative authorities may continue to exercisetheir previous activities provided they comply with thisDirective.
Article 5
Tunnel manager
1. For each tunnel on the territory of one Member State,whether it is in the design, construction or operating stage, theadministrative authority shall identify as tunnel manager thepublic or private body responsible for the management of the tunnel at the stage concerned. The administrativeauthority itself may perform this function.2. For each tunnel located on the territory of two MemberStates, the two administrative authorities or the joint adminis-trative authority shall recognise only one body in charge of theoperation of the tunnel.
20.4.2004 Official Journal of the European Union C 95 E/33

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