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.
Allegations by a Green MEP have led the Commission to investigate possible illegal activity in which oversized lorries are operating between Germany and Denmark.
New rules on charging lorries for use of Europe’s roads could be agreed by the end of the year, after the Belgian government said it would bring the Eurovignette dossier back onto the agenda when it takes over the EU presidency in the second half of this year.
The EU’s new climate change commissioner is promising an initiative on reducing carbon dioxide emissions from lorries, and says the existing agreement to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars could be tightened to provide greater incentives to car makers.
Expanding the EU’s Eurovignette directive to cover pollution, noise and congestion would not disadvantage peripheral member states and would bring net benefits of at least €2.3 billion a year.
T&E has written to the Commission’s leading transport official to complain about political interference in the conclusions drawn from a research group on freight transport. The Freight Visions group has included input from a number of NGOs, including T&E, but the draft conclusions differ distinctly from many of the working groups. In a letter to Matthias Ruete, T&E director Jos Dings said, ‘Once again it appears that the research has been politically managed to ensure that conclusions fit neatly with the current policy approach ... It is unacceptable that such a project is approached with a political direction and a reduced level of ambition already in mind.’
An opinion poll in Switzerland has shown 80% of Swiss citizens are against extra long lorries – generally known as 'mega-trucks' – being allowed to use Swiss roads. The poll, carried out by the Link Institute, questioned more than 1200 people, and looked at regional variations, showing 87% against in the Italian-speaking region of Ticino. This latest survey combines with similar results from opinion polls in France, Germany and Great Britain, which indicate a majority oppose 60-tonne lorries across Europe.
Report making the case for exempting aerodynamic devices from future type-approval legislation for heavy goods vehicles.
Editorial by Maarten van Biezen and Chris Nobel, The Netherlands Society for Nature and Environment (T&E member organisation)
The idea of basing motoring taxation on the distance a vehicle is driven – generally known these days as a 'kilometre charge' – is in principle a good one which environmental groups have advocated for years. But as recent developments in the Netherlands have shown, the road to good charging can often be a bumpy one.
A study by the Commission's transport directorate and the Joint Research Centre of Sevilla says the overall benefits of charging vehicles for their external costs outweigh the limited negative price impacts on individual transport operators.