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Poland assurance

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The European Court of Justice has confirmed that Poland has agreed not to do any more work on the controversial Augustow by-pass through the Rospuda wetlands until the current legal dispute with the Commission is settled. The Polish government has agreed to look at alternative routes for the by-pass, which was one of the main objections of protesters.

Charge for health

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The London city congestion charge celebrated its fifth birthday last month with the news that it had made a minor contribution to improving human health. Scientists at two London institutes calculate that since February 2003 1888 extra years of life have been saved among the seven million population of London. Inside the charge zone, an extra 183 years of life have been saved for every 100 000 residents.

Marco Polo funding

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The Commission has announced another round of funding under the ‘Marco Polo II’ programme for companies trying to reduce road congestion and environmental impact. Companies applying for funding must calculate the total environmental benefits of their project in volume of freight shifted from road, tonnes of CO2 savings, and other factors. T&E policy officer Nina Renshaw said: ‘The Marco Polo programme is a good example of how the EU could spend its money wisely, but €59 million for a full year is a fraction of the vastly higher sums available from the structural and TENs funds where the environmental criteria aren’t so demanding.’

Low energy economy

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A report from the business sector says energy efficiency is the ‘key to economic growth’. The report from the Allianz financial services company and the Lisbon Council policy think-tank says the view that higher energy efficiency levels hinder EU competitiveness is wrong, and presents evidence of a positive link between energy efficiency and productivity levels. The authors call for internalising the external costs of pollution, adding: ‘Far from hurting the economy, higher environmental standards will create new markets.’

EU biofuels target is hindering real progress on fuel quality

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Editorial by Jos Dings
T&E Director

It may not seem like it to people outside the Brussels ‘microcosmos’, but the debate on the future of EU biofuels policy is reaching fever pitch. What makes the debate difficult to understand is its complexity – both technical and political – and the fact that the battleground is a split site.

Environment experts to have say on sustainability criteria in setting future fuel quality standards

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EU environment ministers will have a major say on the sustainability criteria that will accompany the future of European transport fuels, following a decision by representatives of the 27 governments.

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