In May 2017, the European Commission is scheduled to review Directive 1999/62/EC for the third time since its inception. This piece of legislation, known commonly as the Eurovignette Directive, sets the parameters by which EU member states can toll trucks for their use of road infrastructure. This report by Fraunhofer ISI and the Polytechnic University of Madrid looks at the economic and environmental impacts that tolls have had in Germany and Spain since their introduction.
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).
The European Parliament’s transport committee today voted to increase the ambition of the EU’s largest proposed climate law, the Effort Sharing Regulation. The opinion report led by Merja Kyllonen MEP, which was was adopted by 32 votes in favor and 8 against, will feed into the discussion in the main committee, ENVI. The committee’s ambition on issues like the starting point, a longer term emission reduction trajectory and the bi-annual compliance checks was welcomed by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment.
In the light of discussion on a new test procedure for truck CO2 emissions (VECTO), this study commissioned by T&E compares the test procedures in the US and EU to measure the aerodynamic resistance of trucks and what tolerances can be used. The research concludes that the 10% tolerance currently discussed for VECTO should clearly be adjusted downwards and therefore suggests a maximum tolerance of 5%.
Trucks are less than 5% of all road vehicles but emit around 30% of road transport CO2 emissions in the EU. Also in Germany heavy duty trucks and buses account for 30% of road CO2 emissions and this is projected to grow during the coming decades.
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.
The German state of Schleswig-Holstein says it will pioneer a 6km stretch of electronic highway by the end of 2018. As part of its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of goods being transported by road, it says it will dedicate part of the A1 motorway between Reinfeld and Lübeck to be used by lorries powered by electricity via overhead cables.
Fears that a new diesel emissions scandal is already happening across much of Europe have resurfaced following a documentary on German television. The scandal is believed to involve around 20% of lorries operating from eastern Europe, and is generating around 14,000 tonnes of additional nitrogen oxides, making it twice the size of the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal in the US that involved the German carmaker Volkswagen.
If done correctly, charging road users for their use of road infrastructure can contribute to the reduction of emissions from the transport sector. The European Commission is currently preparing its proposal for the review of the Eurovignette directive, which sets the parameters by which member states can toll roads. This revision provides an ample opportunity to link the Directive with Europe’s ambition to transition to low-emission mobility.