• T&E statement on publication of EU Common Transport Policy

    The European Commission has today published a new transport strategy paper that ignores the specific objectives and targets to protect health and the environment from the negative impacts of transport agreed by EU leaders last Friday says T&E, the European sustainable transport citizens organisation.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]The ‘Sustainable Development Strategy’ (SDS), adopted by EU leaders o­n Friday 16 June contains ‘operational objectives and targets’ for sustainable transport in eight areas including climate change, energy use, air and noise pollution. But today’s document, which sets out European transport policy in detail, makes no reference to these objectives and targets, nor does it propose a strategy for how they should be achieved.

    The conflicts between the two strategy papers are notable in three important aspects. The Sustainable Development Strategy defines objectives to break the link between economic growth and growth of transport; to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport; and to bring levels of air and noise pollution to levels that minimise the impact o­n human health and the environment. The new transport policy paper does not mention these objectives.

    Jos Dings, director of T&E said, “It is bizarre and wrong that the Commission has put out a revised transport strategy that ignores objectives set by EU leaders o­nly six days ago. Apparently the Commission finds the wishes of Europe’s transport industry more important than those of our political leaders who rightly take a broader perspective. The reviewed transport strategy is not just unsustainable, despite its title, it is also illegitimate.”

    The EU’s Common Transport Policy was originally set out in a 2001 White Paper that was noted for a ‘modal shift’ target designed to halt the decline in freight transport by rail in favour of road transport. The revised strategy does not abandon this approach, but the specific target of increasing the level of rail freight to its 1998 level has been dropped from the revised paper.

    Notes to editors:

    Differences between the EU Sustainable development Strategy (SDS), adopted by EU leaders o­n 16 June 2006, and the mid-term review of the EU’s Common Transport Policy (CTP) adopted by the European Commission o­n 22 June 2006

    EU Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS)EU Common Transport Policy (CTP) mid-term reviewT&E Comment
    “Decoupling economic growth and the demand for transport with the aim of reducing environmental impacts.”“Mobility must be disconnected from its negative side effects using a broad range of policy tools.”SDS addresses need to tackle transport demand, CTP does not.
    “Achieving sustainable levels of transport energy use and reducing transport greenhouse gas emissions.”“A European energy policy which aims at ensuring competitiveness, security of supply and environmental protection has to focus, inter alia, o­n further transport policies which reduce oil consumption and gradually replace it by other fuels be it biofuels, natural gas, hydrogen, electricity or others.”SDS sets a concrete objective: ‘achieving sustainable levels’.  CTP does not.
    “Reducing pollutant emissions from transport to levels that minimise effects o­n human health and/or the environment.”“The future policy will have to optimise each mode’s own potential to meet the objectives of clean and efficient transport systems.”SDS has a clearly defined objective, CTP does not
    “Reducing transport noise both at source and through mitigation measures to ensure overall exposure levels minimise impacts o­n health.”“ …air quality, noise pollution and land use need continuous attention”SDS has clearly defined objective, CTP does not
    “Achieving a balanced shift towards environment friendly transport modes to bring about a sustainable transport and mobility system.” Shifts to more environmentally friendly modes must be achieved where appropriate, especially o­n long distance, in urban areas and o­n congested corridors.”Little difference between the two documents.   But note that both papers drop the objective from the 2001 Common Transport Policy White Paper to stabilise the share of rail freight at 1998 levels.


    Markus Liechti, Policy Officer, T&E

    Tel: +32 2 502 9909, email: markus.liechti@transportenvironment.org

    Dudley Curtis, Communications Officer, T&E

    Tel: +32 2 502 9909, email : dudley.curtis@transportenvironment.org