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.
Brussels - Fuel tax havens such as Luxembourg and Spain may have to raise their low diesel taxes following a vote in the European Parliament in Strasbourg this afternoon on a proposal to revise the EU’s Energy Tax law. Commenting on the outcome of the vote, Magnus Nilsson, senior campaigner at T&E said: “This vote is good news for countries like Portugal, Belgium, France and Germany who currently lose billions in tax revenue as a result of lorries filling up in fuel tax havens such as Luxembourg and Spain. Lower diesel taxes are bad for the climate and force governments to find cash elsewhere, such as by raising job-killing labour taxes. ”
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.
Plans by the European Commission to allow oversized lorries – known as ‘megatrucks’ – on Europe’s roads through a ‘reinterpretation’ of existing legislation without formal discussion have run into a roadblock.
Of the seven EU countries to have a ‘vignette’ tax system for cars, Hungary has the best and Slovenia the worst. That’s the finding of a study for the Commission that has looked at the seven existing systems as it is soon to publish draft guidelines for governments on minimum standards for vignettes.
The European Commissioner’s top transport official appeared to back away from plans to allow megatrucks to travel freely across European national borders at a stormy meeting yesterday afternoon of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee. Transport & Environment says the EU should scrap plans to boost longer and heavier lorries, and instead propose changes that would allow future lorries to be more aerodynamic and safer but without changing the length or weight of the load space.
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 European Commission is considering a change in the interpretation of its legislation on so-called megatrucks. Under the new interpretation, the cross-border circulation of megatrucks, which is currently prohibited, would be allowed. This decision would have a negative impact on road safety and infrastructure and would drastically impact on the competitive position of the rail freight sector, without any benefits for the environment.