The European Commission adopted today a package entitled "Towards Greener Transport" which included a long-awaited strategy to allow transport to pay for the costs that they cause to environment and society. The package includes a legislative Proposal to revise the Eurovignette Directive that aims to remove a legal obstacle which prohibits trucks being charged for the costs that they cause in terms of congestion and pollution.
Hopes of curtailing the rapid growth of greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation sector have been hampered by the European Parliament's environment committee, say environmental groups Transport & Environment, WWF, Friends of the Earth and Climate Action Network.
Increased aviation growth as a result of the 'Open Skies' agreement between the EU and America could completely offset emissions reductions from integrating the sector into the EU emissions trading system (EU-ETS) according to T&E.
Jos Dings, director of T&E writes in today's Financial Times:
Stefan Lorentzson of Volvo (Letters, March 22), seems to suggest that Europe should stop promoting road charging schemes for trucks because "higher charges for road will not result in the desired shift to rail". But this reasoning fails to acknowledge one of the main additional benefits of road charging, namely the dramatic improvements in the efficiency of the road haulage industry that result.
The air ticket tax under discussion at an international aid conference in Paris this week, will have environmental benefits according to T&E, Europe’s principal sustainable transport organisation. From July, a French ‘air solidarity tax’ will add an estimated 1% to ticket prices, resulting in a reduction of demand for air travel of 1% with a corresponding reduction of 1% in harmful emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
T&E regrets today’s European Parliament vote on rules that govern lorry tolls because Member States will be prevented from including environmental and health costs for several years. T&E now urges Member States to introduce tolls that take advantage of the limited environmental benefits that the new rules could bring, now that some of the worst restrictions of the current scheme will be lifted.
Jos Dings, Director of T&E writes in this week's European Voice: The EU-US aviation agreement has been under discussion once again. But an important issue has been conspicuous by its absence from the debate; namely the need to remove a standard clause found in existing bilateral agreements which effectively rules out taxation on aviation fuel.