• Eurovignette directive gives states new charging powers

    The revised Eurovignette directive has finally been approved and will enter into force in a few weeks.

    The directive marks a milestone in European transport – by 2010 it will force governments that charge lorries for use of Europe’s principal roads to do so on the basis of environmental performance (“Euro” emissions standards).

    It also allows member states to charge lorries on all roads, and not just the motorway network. This may well happen following experience with the German Maut which has led to heavy lorries using smaller roads to avoid the motorway charge.

    T&E policy officer Markus Liechti said: “Though we would have liked to see more in the directive on charging for external costs such as pollution and health impacts, this is a useful start which allows member states a fair bit of flexibility.”

    “In particular, they can introduce regulatory charges to help solve specific environmental problems like areas with poor air quality, whether mountainous regions with sensitive ecosystems or urban areas where residents need protection. Member states must now make the most of these possibilities.”

    The Commission still has to produce a methodology and a revised proposal before states can charge for external costs, despite EU transport policy committing to the “polluter pays” principle.

    This news story is taken from the April 2006 edition of T&E Bulletin.