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Eurovignette: Parliament backs "polluter pays" principle for lorry charges


Publication date: 11 March 2009


Source: european Parliament

Charges on heavy-goods vehicles should be based in part on the air and noise pollution they produce, according to legislation approved by the European Parliament today. Charging lorries for congestion at peak periods on congested roads will also be possible, although specific calculation methods and caps for congestion were excluded from the text. Parliament adopted the legislative resolution with 359 in favour; 256 against; 86 abstentions.


 ∙ Air pollution and noise pollution are considered "chargeable external costs"
 
 ∙ Charging for congestion would also be possible on busy roads during peak periods
 
 ∙ Revenues must be reinvested in greener and alternative modes of transport
 
Air pollution, noise pollution... and congestion
 
The Commission's original proposal included air and noise pollution and congestion but stopped short of including CO2 emissions. An amendment tabled by the Green Group seeking to add CO2 to the list of chargeable costs was rejected.
 
The proposal to include congestion charging met opposition from MEPs in the EPP-ED group. They argued that such a charge would not help reduce congestion and would be an additional burden to an already suffering industry.
 
The Transport Committee had earlier this month reached a compromise allowing Member States to apply the congestion charge to lorries on the condition that they apply a similar charge to "all other road users". However these provisions were rejected in the plenary vote today.
 
Charging for congestion under new Eurovignette rules would not apply to passenger cars, therefore. Also, the calculation method used to define the amount of the congestion charge would be left to Member States to decide.
 
However, Member States would still have the possibility to charge for congestion "on road sections subject to congestion (...) during the periods when these road sections are usually congested"
 
"Intelligent" pricing system
 
The Eurovignette directive is accompanied by a calculation method designed to adapt toll prices according to the environmental standard of the vehicle (known as "Euro 0 to VI"), the type of road used and the time period. Electronic tolling systems would calculate the right price according to these criteria.
 
"Polluter pays more": average extra cost for road users would be small
 
The Eurovignette calculation method means that the overall extra cost for road users would only rise by approximately 3% if Member States choose to apply the charges, according to an impact study carried out by the Commission. Heavy polluters (Euro 0) would pay more, eco-friendly lorries (Euro VI and "clean energy" lorries) would pay little or no charges for air pollution.
 
"Earmarking" revenues to invest in greener transport
 
Bracing themselves for a probable future fight with EU finance ministers, MEPs from all political groups united in their support for "earmarking": Member States should be obliged to invest the revenue generated from Eurovignette charges into plans to improve environmental standards of vehicles and develop alternative transport infrastructure.
 
On roads in mountainous regions and conurbations, a "mark-up" cost is introduced (amendment 37 adopted). The extra revenue from this mark-up would be invested into alternative parallel transport links (for instance, a mark-up introduced on the Alpine section of the Lyon-Genoa motorway would finance a parallel railway route).
 
 
The existing Eurovignette rules only apply to roads which are part of the "Trans-European Network" - specifically designated international roads linking EU countries - and to vehicles above 12 tonnes. According to the draft legislative resolution adopted in plenary today, Eurovignette rules would apply to all TEN roads and roads "which customarily carry a significant volume of international goods transport".
 
The rules are not binding but seek to set a common EU standard for Member States who choose to apply the charges.
 
REF. : 20090310IPR51410


 
 
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