The European Parliament will vote next week on whether to strengthen the proposal for Europe’s key climate law, the so-called Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) – or ‘Climate Action Regulation’, the name agreed by the environment committee. MEPs will be asked to back a more ambitious starting point than the European Commission’s proposal and to close some loopholes to ensure member states actually reduce their emissions.
The battle to make urban trucks safer for all road users appears to have taken a significant step forward. The European Commission has admitted it is considering making the required field of vision for a truck driver dependent on the class of vehicle he or she is driving. This could mean safer standards come into effect much sooner than originally feared.
Suppliers of equipment to the truck industry have joined a call for new minimum safety standards for new cars, vans and trucks to be urgently brought forward after years of delays. Industry groups along with NGOs, consumer organisations and cities last month told the European Commission to stop stalling on the new rules which are needed to bring down the number of deaths on Europe’s roads.
Time-based road tolling for trucks is to be phased out in Europe by 2024, the European Commission has proposed. T&E welcomed the switch to a distanced-based system which, by charging per kilometer, encourages drivers to take the most efficient route and discourages empty trips while reducing congestion and pollution.
The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has backed up T&E’s claims that the makers of trucks are ‘cherry picking’ vehicle test data so they can claim progress on fuel consumption and thus delay and avoid CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs). The ICCT says truckmakers have been selecting vehicles for comparisons that lead to favourable conclusions.
Truckmakers will be required to certify the CO2 emissions of all new trucks they sell in Europe from using a test procedure known as VECTO. The tool, which was was endorsed by EU member states and the European Commission last week, is designed to make figures for the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from new heavy-goods vehicles available for truck buyers.
Only three European countries are pursuing climate policies that could deliver on the promises made at the Paris climate conference, according to a new ranking published by T&E and NGO Carbon Market Watch. Sweden, Germany and France top the ranking, which is based on the ambition being shown by member states as they negotiate the terms of the EU’s most powerful climate tool, the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR).
Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions for 2016 will show an increase on 2015, and growing freight transport is a major factor. The figures come from calculations by the country’s environment agency and are backed up by a study undertaken for the German Green party, showing that Germany is falling behind the clock in meeting its 2020 emissions reduction target. Other figures show transport is now the leading emitter of greenhouse gases for the first time in the UK, too.
France’s national Court of Auditors has been fiercely critical of the country’s government and MPs for allowing the French heavy goods ‘ecotax’ to be abandoned. The tax was first suggested as part of an exploration of environmental ideas in 2008 and approved by MPs in 2009, but in November it was abandoned after a series of protests. The Court of Auditors says that the decision was ‘a strategic failure’ and ‘a mess’ that will damage the public finances and the credibility of the country’s transport policy.
Eight governments are demanding new vehicle safety standards in order to diminish road deaths significantly. In a letter to EU internal market commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the governments, including Germany, France and Austria, call on the Commission to mandate safety measures such as direct vision to eradicate blind spots in the upcoming revision of the General Safety Regulation (GSR). Such measures would not only drastically improve truck safety but also boost the global competitiveness of European manufacturers, according to the alliance.