The German government has approved the use of oversized lorries – known as ‘megatrucks’ or ‘gigaliners’ – for a five-year trial. But even if doubts about the decision’s legality are removed, the lorries will effectively be allowed in less than half the country, as some federal states have banned them.
The long-running saga of the EU’s rules on road use charges for heavy goods vehicles has come to an end – at least for now – with final agreement on the third version of the Eurovignette directive. The directive comes into effect as several states, both inside and outside the EU, are introducing or considering road user charges.
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.
The French government has confirmed it will introduce a distance-based tax on lorries at the beginning of 2013. The confirmation follows a legal challenge to the government’s decision to award the contract for collecting the tolls to an Italian company. The tax will apply to all lorries using national roads and some local roads.
Hungary’s supreme court has awarded financial compensation to two residents who complained that their lives were made a misery and their houses reduced in value by speeding lorries along highway 86 in the west of the country.
EU countries have finally been given clearance to charge road hauliers for the air pollution and noise costs caused by lorries. But they will not be allowed to charge for the costs of congestion, accidents and climate changing gases. In a further weakening of the proposed directive, governments can exempt lorries under 12 tonnes from charges.
Proposal on how to improve the Energy Tax Directive by Green Budget Europe, the European Environmental Bureau and Transport & Environment
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.
Spain is developing a plan to introduce a distance-based charge for lorries. T&E says the move indicates that the need for stricter economic measures is driving a new wave of environmentally beneficial policies. The news comes as the European Parliament’s transport committee reached agreement on a revision of the Eurovignette directive that will allow EU member states to charge for air and noise pollution in road tolls.
By Jos Dings
We always felt the economic crisis, with its associated scarcity of public money, could bring about more than just misery. We thought it could be the trigger for positive reforms towards more sustainable transport. And there are now signs that things are slowly starting to move in this direction.