ESTA is “cautiously optimistic” that the organisation’s long-running campaign for the introduction of heavy transport and abnormal load corridors across Europe is beginning to bear fruit.

The campaign was given a boost last year following pressure from Europe’s armed forces on Brussels and national governments. According to the European association of abnormal road transport and mobile cranes, military leaders had become increasingly concerned that the poor state of much of the continent’s infrastructure was hampering their ability to move heavy armaments.

With the support of IRU, the international road transport association, ESTA argued that military heavy transport corridors could also be used for non-military purposes.

Last week, the IRU received an update from the European Commission (EC), which said that the idea of “dual-use” requirements for the roads has made “great progress”, thanks to the input from ESTA and the IRU.

The dual military and heavy transport proposal was initially discussed with the member states and then considered in more detail in a series of EC committees.

Commission sources hope that the proposal will be included in the Connecting Europe Facility 2021-27 Regulation – the mechanism for financing key EU infrastructure networks.

They expect this to be adopted later this year, although there are concerns that the process might be delayed by budget negotiations in the wake of Brexit.

ESTA director Ton Klijn said: “Nothing has been achieved yet, of course, but the signs are good. With the help from our friends at IRU our voice has been heard and we are making progress.

“We are just hoping that, having persuaded many people of the wisdom of our case, the arguments over EU funding do not delay matters too long.”