EU green light for lorry pollution charges

On 23 May an agreement was reached between the European Commission, Council and Parliament on revised road charging rules for lorries (the Eurovignette directive) that would open the door for member states to charge for air and noise pollution in road tolls but introduces a loophole for lorries under twelve tonnes.

Nina Renshaw at green group Transport & Environment (T&E), said: "This agreement will enable countries to directly target the noisiest and most polluting lorries, which is a significant step forward. But it still forbids charges to cover the €60 billion costs of climate change, congestion and accidents caused by lorries – that's a wasted opportunity and is unnecessarily restrictive."

In a step backwards, a requirement in the existing directive for charges to apply to all lorries from 3.5 tonnes upwards from 2012 has been scrapped. Following pressure from Germany, member states will now be able to give lorries under 12 tonnes a free ride, under certain conditions. 

The agreement between the three EU institutions now needs to be formally approved by transport ministers and the full parliament before becoming law.

Source: Transport & Environment, 24 May 2011

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