Traffic noise is a serious concern for Europeans, and the EU must act quickly to tackle the issue. That is the call from citizens from several European countries in a video clip published today (1) for International Noise Awareness Day.
With the battle over whether oversized lorries, known as ‘megatrucks’, should be allowed to cross EU national borders, an extension of the fight is now emerging as Sweden has given the green light for even longer lorries to operate between Göteborg and Malmö. T&E is worried that the Commission’s proposed ‘reinterpretation’ of existing weights and dimensions rules for lorries would effectively leave Europe with no limits at all.
More than 80% of respondents to a Commission survey are in favour of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from heavy vehicles, and two thirds say it must be done through legislation and not left to voluntary measures.
An alliance of road freight interests has launched ‘Green Freight Europe’, aimed at working out a reliable method of measuring emissions from lorries. The group of hauliers, transport logistics firms and companies that use lorries to transport goods set out its scheme last month in the presence of the EU transport commissioner Siim Kallas. Estimates of today’s fuel efficiency of lorries vary widely.
The Commission is hinting that it is about to announce a ‘re-interpretation’ of its rules on oversized lorries – so-called ‘megatrucks’ or ‘gigaliners’ – that could amount to the green light for the controversial vehicles. The transport commissioner Siim Kallas was going to announce the move at a road lobby conference late last month, but held back following angry reactions from MEPs and environmental groups. T&E says the re-interpretation would open the flood gates to megatrucks and set back attempts to reinvigorate rail freight.
The Commission is taking steps towards a first EU directive aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from heavy goods vehicles. Its consultation on the weight and dimensions of lorries comes as more evidence emerges about the positive effect of mandatory emissions standards from new cars.
With both safety and environmental challenges in mind, T&E commissioned an independent study from the automotive research institute FKA aimed at identifying the optimal shape and dimensions of a tractor (the part of the lorry that pulls the trailer), integrating new aerodynamic solutions and improving both active and passive safety.