Environmental groups in Slovakia have called on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to review its decision taken last month to give a €250 million loan for building the D1 motorway.
The European Investment Bank is consulting for the first time on its lending policy to transport projects.
Portugal has announced it is postponing construction of five major roads totalling nearly 1000 kilometres. The reason given is to cut expenditure from the national budget, but the relevant minister says there is a need to rethink the country’s transport network on a multi-modal basis.
A new study has suggested that investing in high-speed rail can bring various benefits, but should not be marketed as a major part of efforts to combat climate change. The study, 'The Future of Interurban Passenger Transport' by the Swedish transport economist Per Kågeson, calculates the effect on emissions from building a new high speed line connecting two major cities 500 kilometres apart. It says there is no reason to prohibit investment in high-speed rail on environmental grounds as long as the carbon gains outweigh the emissions during construction, but the greenhouse gas savings are sufficiently small that it would be wrong to justify such investment as a solution to climate change.
The European Investment Bank has suspended loans for the building of a motorway in Slovakia because the government has broken EU and national environmental laws. The decision follows complaints from the Slovak Friends of the Earth NGO that the proposed D1 motorway will go through two national parks and protected areas of the Natura 2000 network, despite a less damaging route being available. The NGO is also lobbying the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to reject making a €250 million loan until questions required under EU and Slovak laws have been answered.
Response to the European Commission consultation on the EU Road Safety Action Programme 2011-2020
Poland’s council of ministers has agreed on a new route for the Via Baltica motorway that has earned the approval of environmental campaigners who fought a long battle to protect an ancient wetland site threatened by an earlier route.
The NGO network CEE Bankwatch says the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development urgently needs to reduce its carbon-heavy investments in new motorways and air travel, and instead promote transport that assists the transition to a low-carbon economy. Its comments come in a consultation by the Bank on how it decides its transport lending in central and eastern Europe. Bankwatch also says the Bank’s ‘private sector at just about all costs’ approach is leading to bad lending decisions, and it should ensure that railway restructuring does not become a misleading term that takes trade off the rails because of higher costs.
Editorial by João Vieira, T&E board member
Portugal is not normally the socio-economic laboratory of Europe, but a recent debate that has crossed traditional party-political lines shows that some lessons are gradually being learned that might
be of wider relevance.
Position paper in response to the European Commission green paper 'TEN-T: A Policy Review'