The vehicle pictured may look like something from a James Bond film, but it is one of a range of ‘cargo bikes’ that have been heavily promoted over the last couple of months, following the conclusion of a survey showing the potential benefits of deliveries by bicycle.
A new study from Canada has said the widely-held notion that investing in road transport is good for the economy does not stand up to close analysis.
The Commission is consulting on whether EU rules on combined transport are working or need updating. Combined transport – which is generally taken to mean freight movements that are largely by rail or water but with the start and end by road – is regulated by an EU directive dating from 1992. It aims to promote combined transport through reducing restrictions, eliminating authorisation procedures, and offering financial support through fiscal incentives for certain combined transport operations.
EU transport ministers will this week decide whether to approve changing the design rules for lorry cabins which will make them safer and more fuel efficient. Last month, governments reached a provisional agreement on the changes but set a delay of eight years before redesigned lorry cabs can be produced in Europe.
A project to create the world’s first ‘sustainable motorway’ has been launched in the Netherlands by two environmental organisations, T&E members Milieudefensie and Natuur & Milieu.
One of the frustrations of EU transport policy is the relentless focus on the internal market as the one-and-only justification for setting standards, introducing rules or spending money. It leaves us all short-changed. On the rare occasion that ‘Brussels’ tries to make suggestions for cities’ or regions’ transport policies to improve air quality, safety or health, the spectre of ‘subsidiarity’ spooks everyone and the idea vanishes.
New rules for lorry design, which campaigners hope will reduce fuel consumption and emissions and save hundreds of lives, have been accepted almost unanimously by the full European Parliament. For the first time, MEPs also called for the introduction of fuel efficiency standards for lorries. But these proposed rules, which must now be agreed by EU member states, face opposition from national transport ministers seeking to shield some lorry makers from innovation.
Long-haul flights to and from Europe will continue to be excluded from the EU emissions trading system (ETS) after MEPs voted last month to accept a compromise brokered with EU governments. The agreement means that, until 2017, only flights between EU airports will be regulated – a 75% cut in emissions covered compared with the original ETS.
Without action, global CO2 emissions from transport are projected to double by 2050, the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report has concluded. But ‘aggressive and sustained’ measures, including fuel carbon and energy intensity improvements, as well as infrastructure development can change the trendline and lead to a CO2 reduction of 15-40% instead.
Progress towards new design and safety standards for lorries will be jeopardised if the European Commission backtracks on safety requirements, environmental and road safety campaigners fear.