On 28 February, the Swiss go to the polls in a referendum that could have major implications for north-south goods transport in Europe. The vote itself is whether to build a second road tunnel through the Gotthard Alpine mountain between the towns of Göschenen and Airolo, but T&E’s two Swiss members are making the case that the issue is much bigger than that.
Industry and civil society groups working on transport have criticised today's State of the Energy Union speech by Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič for failing to prioritise e-mobility as a major means of decarbonising transport. The majority of EU states lag significantly behind Norway – where one out of every five cars sold is electric, the platform of 12 organisations, which includes power sector representative Eurelectric, railway operators' body CER, and sustainable transport group Transport & Environment, said.
New research has suggested that investing in public and low-emission transport could bring massive financial savings in addition to making a sizeable contribution to reducing greenhouse gases.
NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) has criticised the decision by the Irish Government, with Brussels’ backing, to grant €42.5 million to a number of small regional airports, a decision which will see public money propping up underutilised airports with questionable socioeconomic benefits. These public resources could have been better invested in developing a sustainable transport network in Ireland, T&E argues.
Plans to develop a Europe-wide road-charging scheme have been unveiled by EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bluc. The charging of cars and lorries for road use based on distance driven would be optional, allowing member states to not participate if they did not wish to.
What have been the two sustainable mobility revolutions of the past decade? Of course, that is an impossible question. I am sure that if you asked 10 different people you would get 10 different answers.
Earlier this week, Violeta Bulc, the EU’s head of transport, announced plans to develop a Europe-wide scheme to charge lorries and cars for using roads. Bulc clarified that the scheme would be optional, meaning that countries like the UK could opt out if they want to. The Transport Commissioner also stressed that the amount of the fee should be based exclusively on the distance driven and should not be time-dependent, which would bolster more efficient use of roads.
Transport & Environment director Jos Dings addressed a hearing in the European Parliament on 4 November, 2014. He laid out T&E's position on European road toll systems for private vehicles, including environmental, financial, technical and privacy concerns. His remarks are available to download.
The Council of the EU today passed the infrastructure for alternative fuels law, failing to boost the development of a low-carbon European transport network. The enacted law drops all binding targets for electric charging points or hydrogen. Transport & Environment has said the law is a ‘dead letter’ because it will do nothing to set a level playing field for alternative fuels to fairly compete with oil in transport energy, and called for a broad strategy for clean e-mobility.
The Commission is consulting on whether EU rules on combined transport are working or need updating. Combined transport – which is generally taken to mean freight movements that are largely by rail or water but with the start and end by road – is regulated by an EU directive dating from 1992. It aims to promote combined transport through reducing restrictions, eliminating authorisation procedures, and offering financial support through fiscal incentives for certain combined transport operations.