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Commission bends to car industry pressure

EC plan for a 2020 competitive car and lorry industry omits key environmental promises.The Commission’s Cars 2020 Action Plan (1) for a competitive and sustainable automotive industry in Europe announced today fails to address key strategic challenges such as climate change. Sustainable transport campaigners, Transport & Environment (T&E), have identified important omissions from the plans. This follows earlier announcements this week that other key policies to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles are being shelved.

European Parliament draft report hinders plans for quieter cars

The lives of millions of Europeans could be blighted by traffic noise pollution for years to come if the European Parliament – under pressure from car manufacturers - backs draft changes to proposed future vehicle noise emissions standards in a forthcoming vote. Transport & Environment, the sustainable transport campaigners, are calling for rules that will lead to a real-world drop in traffic noise, which is a major cause of heart disease and has a negative impact on children’s learning.

Commissioner’s legal u-turn opens the door to megatrucks

Lorry road trains as long as medium-sized aircraft could be permitted to travel throughout Europe, following an unprecedented reinterpretation of existing law by European Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas.  Sustainable transport campaigners Transport & Environment say the change is undemocratic and undermines the Commissioner’s own key objectives for the transport sector of reducing emissions and boosting rail freight.  

European Parliament vote on fuel taxes: reaction from Transport & Environment

Brussels - Fuel tax havens such as Luxembourg and Spain may have to raise their low diesel taxes following a vote in the European Parliament in Strasbourg this afternoon on a proposal to revise the EU’s Energy Tax law.  Commenting on the outcome of the vote, Magnus Nilsson, senior campaigner at T&E said: “This vote is good news for countries like Portugal, Belgium, France and Germany who currently lose billions in tax revenue as a result of lorries filling up in fuel tax havens such as Luxembourg and Spain.  Lower diesel taxes are bad for the climate and force governments to find cash elsewhere, such as by raising job-killing labour taxes.  ”

Commission backs away from allowing megatrucks

The European Commissioner’s top transport official appeared to back away from plans to allow megatrucks to travel freely across European national borders at a stormy meeting yesterday afternoon of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee.  Transport & Environment says the EU should scrap plans to boost longer and heavier lorries, and instead propose changes that would allow future lorries to be more aerodynamic and safer but without changing the length or weight of the load space. 

Porsches up to four times louder under German government proposal

Future Porsche sports cars could get away with being almost four times noisier than regular cars while high performance versions of the BMW 3 series, Audi A4 and Mini Cooper could become almost twice as loud under German plans for weak international limits on vehicle noise (1). Noise reductions for lorries would also be delayed until 2028 if the proposal from the German transport and environment ministries is accepted. T&E is calling on the EU to set its own stringent noise standards for cars and lorries in a proposal expected later this month.

EU green light for lorry pollution charges

The EU has reached an agreement on revised road charging rules for lorries (the Eurovignette directive) that would open the door for Member States to charge for air and noise pollution in road tolls but introduces a loophole for lorries under twelve tonnes. The deal was finalised last night in 'trialogue' discussions between the European Commission, Council and Parliament.

Dutch plan to authorise extra long trucks is illegal, dangerous and won’t cut emissions

Transport & Environment (T&E) strongly criticises the announcement today by the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Environment Melanie Schultz Van Haegen to allow trucks up to 25 meters long and 60 tonnes in weight to operate across the Dutch road network (1).  EU law currently restricts the length of lorries to a maximum of 18.75m and 40-44 tonnes.

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