Sustainable development has become one of the EU’s essential goals and is now a guiding principle for both its internal and external policies. As part of this ambition, the European Commission includes specific chapters on Trade and Sustainable Development in all free trade agreements (FTA) that it concludes with third country partners. Due to the controversy surrounding trade in recent years (for example, TTIP and CETA), the European Commission has started to recognise that there needs to be stronger coherence between trade and development policies. This paper looks at how the Trade and Sustainable Development chapters could play a crucial role in this.
A new report by T&E has concluded that any preferential access for the United Kingdom to the EU’s internal market must be conditional on the UK agreeing to respect EU environmental standards and climate targets after Brexit. The report, Putting the Environment at the Heart of Brexit, says Britain must not be allowed to gain any advantage through ‘environmental dumping’.
The bodies that enforce the Aarhus Convention, which guarantees public access to information and justice in environmental matters, have ruled that the EU is not compliant with the convention and is showing a lack of respect for the rule of law on environmental justice.
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.
Road traffic is the principal cause of noise disturbance across Europe, according to a new study published by the European Environment Agency (EEA). It means that road transport is now a major contributor to the two largest environmental stressors in Europe: air pollution and noise.
Belgium this week introduces a distanced-based truck toll as a new study reveals that trucks cost society €143 billion a year across the EU. The independent study for green transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) also found that trucks currently cover only 30% of these costs through taxation and charges. As the EU revises its road charging directive, T&E said Belgium’s road charging scheme is a fair way to ensure that trucks pay for a bigger share of the damage they cause.
T&E commissioned a study to monetise the external costs of trucks and to determine whether truck users are now covering a larger share of their external costs than in 2009 – when the first Are Trucks Taking Their Toll? report was published. The report finds that while there has been progress, a lot remains to be done.
Over what distances is it realistic to expect people to commute by bicycle? And what if that bicycle offers electrically assisted pedalling? These are the questions being researched by Bram Rotthier, an academic at a university in the Belgian city of Leuven. Rotthier has commissioned 15 cyclists to test commuting distances, one of whom is a Green politician who is cycling around 100km per day on a ‘speed pedelec’, an electric bicycle capable of up to 45 km/h.
This is the T&E’s response to the European Commission’s public consultation on the handbook on Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA).