The ban is due to take effect next year, with the opening of the 4.5km tunnel that has cost over €700m and taken three years to build.
It is intended to divert heavy goods traffic from Dublin streets but because the tunnel’s clearance height is only 4.65m, it will be unable to accommodate an increasing number of supertrucks transporting goods from Britain to multiples in Ireland.
Irish transport minister Seamus Brennan claims the clearance cannot be increased because of safety concerns. Many supertrucks are 4.8m and more in height.
Marks & Spencer has been the first of the multiples to speak out on the issue, warning that its refrigerated food trucks will be too large for the tunnel and that any height cap will increase delivery costs. “We will have to change our lorries and put more of them, with more drivers, on the roads,” said a spokeswoman.
Now officials of the British embassy in Dublin are to have talks with UK multiples on the likely impact of the proposed ban. They will also be consulting with the Department of Transport in London before making representations to Brennan’s department, which has promised full consultation with all interested parties.
Supertrucks are used by many British companies, including supermarket chains, said an embassy spokesman, who added: “We feel that it would be of concern to the Irish government if there was to be an impact on trade coming into the country.”
The Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation (IBEC) has denounced the proposed ban as “a nonsense that will increase costs and put more trucks on the road”.