Environmental organisations have long been concerned about the current rules relating to passenger transport VAT. The transport sector now accounts for the largest share of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the growth of aviation emissions now outstrips almost all other GHG sources. Yet member states oversee a VAT system which, through voluntary derogations, further inflates aviation’s rapid growth while also distorting competition with less carbon-intensive transport modes.
The newly elected mayor of London has said improving the British capital’s air quality will be one of his top priorities. Sadiq Khan’s first policy announcement after winning the election in May was to increase the size of London’s clean air charging zone and impose an additional charge on the most polluting vehicles.
Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.
The unofficial capital of Europe is the most congested city in Europe, according to the latest ranking of congested cities, but opinion sampling and a vote in Gothenburg suggest public willingness for tackling congestion is not great.
The Commission is taking legal action against the British and French governments for failure to allow competition through the Channel Tunnel.
Editorial by Chris Bowers, Editor, T&E Bulletin
The man who pioneered London’s congestion charge, Ken Livingstone, was the highest-profile speaker at last month’s T&E annual general meeting, which also celebrated T&E’s 20th birthday.
Manchester has become the latest city to propose a congestion charge. The city says congestion is costing businesses money and depriving the city of skilled workers. Five other major European cities (Bergen, Oslo, London, Stockholm and Milan) have congestion charges.
Response to the public consultation of the European Commission on a new Action Plan on Urban Mobility
The London city congestion charge celebrated its fifth birthday last month with the news that it had made a minor contribution to improving human health. Scientists at two London institutes calculate that since February 2003 1888 extra years of life have been saved among the seven million population of London. Inside the charge zone, an extra 183 years of life have been saved for every 100 000 residents.