The Environment Committee of the European Parliament will vote next week on noise limits for vehicles. The compromise proposal put forward by the lead MEP has been drafted by sports car manufacturer Porsche.
The EU is currently discussing its climate and energy policy for 2030. As part of these discussions German carmakers have been advocating the inclusion of road transport emissions in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). Some countries like Denmark also support the idea, although for different reasons. This briefing explains why transport’s inclusion in the ETS would delay emissions reductions in transport, undermine more effective climate policies for transport, and weaken the ETS and increase costs.
The European Commission has proposed to allow lorry makers to produce slightly longer cabs on the condition that they are shown to be safer and more aerodynamic. Existing lorry cab designs are dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists because of their flat front and many blind spots. The Commission refrained from setting a specific length limit and wants to define this through comitology (meetings with member states and the Commission). This T&E note looks at the different length options for safer lorries.
The question of how to tax transit traffic fairly under EU rules is likely to come to the fore after the German transport minister announced a new road toll aimed at non-German vehicles driving on German roads.
The Commission’s proposed new lorry carbon dioxide strategy lacks decisive action to reduce the sector’s growing emissions in Europe, green transport campaigners have said. Under the plan, lorry CO2 emissions would be measured, certified and reported in the hope that increased transparency will accelerate improvements.
France’s Assemblée Nationale approved a scaled-down toll for lorries, which will do little to improve logistics efficiency as well as lorries’ environmental and health impacts. The decision goes against a wider trend of expanding or introducing ambitious lorry km-charging schemes in other countries like Germany, Poland, Austria and Belgium.
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.
EU transport ministers decided today to delay changes to the weights and dimensions rules for lorry cabins, which would allow safer and more fuel efficient lorries to be produced . Under Franco-Swedish pressure, ministers regrettably agreed to ban the introduction of safer and cleaner lorry cabs from Europe’s roads for at least eight years. In a more positive note, ministers rejected a proposal to allow megatrucks to cross borders.
Driving Europe’s transport industry in a more sustainable direction is a formidable challenge, not least because it means a fairly fundamental change in the way fairly large industries do their business. It is in the DNA of these industries to resist change forced upon them by politicians. Carmakers oppose CO2 standards that make them fit clean tech to their cars, the aviation and shipping industries oppose doing their share and of course oil companies fight any kind of change that could end our addiction to their products.