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.
Representatives of EU governments today accepted a deal with the European Parliament to end brick-shaped lorries, clearing the way for advances in fuel efficiency and safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. The agreed law allows lorrymakers to produce new designs but industry lobbyists secured a ban until 2022 even though the new designs are voluntary, not mandatory . The Commission will propose new safety requirements for trucks by amending its vehicle safety regulations by 2016.
The 28 EU governments and the European Parliament last night reached a deal to end brick-shaped lorries, which are inefficient and very dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. The agreed law gives manufacturers the ability to produce more streamlined, safer and fuel-efficient lorries but, amid heavy lobbying by industry, sets a delay until 2022  before redesigned lorry cabs are allowed on Europe’s roads. Member State representatives still need to formally approve the deal at a COREPER meeting on December 17th.
Ahead of trilogue negotiations on the European Commission's lorry weights and dimensions proposal, the International Road Transport Union (IRU), representing hauliers, and Transport & Environment wrote to the Commission, Council and Parliament. In the letter they urge decision-makers to seize a once-in-a-generation opportunity to support and enable a maximisation of lorry fuel efficiency which will reduce emissions, while creating opportunities to further improve safety and driver comfort. They ask the decision-makers to reject a proposed moratorium and not delay such innovations any further.
Margrethe Vestager, European Competition commissioner has announced that she is stepping up the anti-trust and cartel investigation against EU truckmakers. The Commission suspects several truckmakers of price fixing and anti-competitive behaviour. Cartel behaviour hampers innovation in safety and fuel efficiency.
It now seems that the revision of the Energy Tax Directive (ETD) is dead. Given how negotiations have been dragging on for three and a half years while only eating away at everything the Commission proposal sought to achieve, it is probably good to call it a day and start afresh.
To understand the grievous concerns about the safety of lorries on our roads you only need look at their record in my country, Britain. HGV accidents, especially those involving cyclists, are a key issue for transport in the UK at the moment. In London, lorries were involved in over half of cyclists' deaths even though they only made up 5% of traffic in both 2011 and 2012. HGVs were involved in 51% of fatal collisions on UK motorways – even though they only made up 11 per cent of motorway traffic in 2012.
EU governments last week agreed three modest targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase the share of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency by 2030. Environmental groups said the goals would not do enough to cut Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels and put it on track to meet its own 2050 climate pledges.
Last week, the European Council composed of heads of states and governments reached an agreement on the EU’s climate and energy targets for post-2020. We ended up with three targets: greenhouse gas reductions of at least 40% with binding national targets; a 27% target for renewable energy; and a non-binding 27% target for energy efficiency. The deal is fraught with “flexibilities”, and includes significant money transfers to poorer and coal-dependent EU countries. But what does this deal mean for transport?