Despite opposition from conservative MEP’s, the European Parliament’s transport committee yesterday (11 February) adopted a report backing national governments’ right to charge heavy goods vehicles for the noise, pollution and congestion they cause.
Adopted with 31 votes for and 16 against, the report nevertheless only partly supports the inclusion of congestion as a chargeable external cost of transport.
According to the adopted compromise, which was not supported by the centre-right EPP-ED group, national governments may only apply congestion charging to trucks on two conditions. First, they must conduct a cost-benefit analysis and submit an action plan setting out their measures to reduce congestion before applying the charge, and, second, a similar charge must be imposed on private cars too.
Meanwhile, noise and air pollution costs could be charged following standardised formulas and respecting certain maximum limits, MEPs said.
However, the committee decided not to allow member states to charge trucks for costs related to CO2 emissions, climate change or road accidents.
Finally, MEPs want to oblige member states to reinvest charging revenue into researching cleaner vehicles, better infrastructure and alternative modes of transport.