One of the frustrations of EU transport policy is the relentless focus on the internal market as the one-and-only justification for setting standards, introducing rules or spending money. It leaves us all short-changed. On the rare occasion that ‘Brussels’ tries to make suggestions for cities’ or regions’ transport policies to improve air quality, safety or health, the spectre of ‘subsidiarity’ spooks everyone and the idea vanishes.
It’s a question I get asked a lot: so are you having any success in greening transport in Europe? I presume not. There are still an awful lot of cars around, aren’t there?
Yes, this editorial has an unlikely title. If you have been following us, or the issues we work on, a little bit, the overwhelming impression is that things have been scaled back (emissions-trading aviation), postponed (the Fuel Quality Directive, possibly NOx from ship engines, truck CO2 emissions) and watered down (CO2 from cars, biofuels).
The current Commission is on track to have one of the worst-ever environmental records of any EU administration. That is the view of the group of 10 Brussels-based environmental NGOs (‘Green 10’), whose mid-term assessment of José Manuel Barroso’s second Commission says it would not win any medals and is acting to protect the environment even less than his first Commission (2005-09).
The EU has reached an agreement on revised road charging rules for lorries (the Eurovignette directive) that would open the door for Member States to charge for air and noise pollution in road tolls but introduces a loophole for lorries under twelve tonnes. The deal was finalised last night in 'trialogue' discussions between the European Commission, Council and Parliament.
Today, in Luxembourg, European Transport Ministers reached an agreement on revised road charging rules for lorries (the Eurovignette directive). Nina Renshaw, deputy director at Transport & Environment (T&E), welcomed the agreement but also stressed that a number of issues remain.
Research by the respected Dutch consultancy CE Delft has shown that carbon dioxide emissions from road transport could be reduced by 30% if motorway speed limits in the Netherlands were set at 80 km/h.
The European Parliament has approved a new energy efficiency, safety and noise labelling scheme for new tyres. Transport & Environment says the label is a step forward but much will now depend on national authorities being strict on implementing the scheme.
MEPs, the Commission and officials of member states have agreed a labelling scheme for new tyres that T&E says is a step forward but much will now depend on national authorities being strict on implementing the scheme.