On 31 May 2017, the European Commission published its proposal to review the ‘Eurovignette’ Directive. The Directive defines how Member States of the European Union can charge vehicles for their use of road infrastructure and was conceived to ensure the proper functioning of the EU transport market. Transport accounts for around a quarter of EU GHG emissions. Meanwhile air pollution from road transport contributes to over 400,000 premature deaths per year, 26,000 people die in traffic annually, and the EU economy loses €100 bn every year in congestion. This briefing outlines why road charging is a key instrument to tackle this.
Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes European Commission’s proposal today on smart road tolls and its commitment to zero-emission mobility. The Commission also reaffirmed its commitment to set stricter CO2 standards for cars, vans and, for the first time, trucks. These are moves in the right direction, but the real test of the EU’s intentions will be the ambition of the CO2 standards and whether it proposes a zero-emission vehicle mandate, the sustainable transport group said.
Switzerland has voted in favour of building a second road tunnel through the Gotthard alpine mountain. In a referendum in late February, the Swiss electorate voted by 57% to 43% to approve a second road tunnel, despite it appearing to contradict the Swiss constitution that commits the country to shifting goods transport from road to rail. The vote has been widely seen as part of a political swing to the right, which has been accompanied by a weakening of public willingness to support environmental measures.
Increasing the use of natural gas in cars and trucks would be largely ineffective in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution, a new independent study finds. There are no GHG savings in shifting from diesel cars and trucks to compressed or liquefied natural gas (LNG) cars and trucks, while petrol-hybrid, electric and hydrogen cars deliver much greater climate benefits, the study for sustainable transport group Transport & Environment says.
In February 2016, the European Commission released a proposal to guarantee its gas supply security and is preparing another one to implement the EU’s 2030 climate targets for the transport, buildings and agriculture sectors. It is also developing a communication to decarbonise the road transport sector, to be announced this summer. To understand what role natural gas could have in achieving these objectives, T&E commissioned a study from Ricardo Energy & Environment to assess the impacts of large-scale use of natural gas in the transport sector.
The European Commission is taking legal action against the UK over claims it is exceeding limits on air pollution from traffic. Britain has two months to respond to the case that it breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, which cause breathing and other health problems.
Pregnant women who breathe in pollution could be giving birth to children with lower intelligence, says a study from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health in America.
Compromise appears to have been reached over the EU's current draft legislation on capturing vapour at petrol stations.