Mobility Package panic, single-sky push & sheep SOS

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Last night’s latest round of Mobility Package I talks were fruitless. Parliament, Commission and Council negotiators remain at odds over rules on truck driver working conditions. Transport committee chair Karima Delli said she is not willing to “sell off our principles” to get a deal. 

Driven

In London, Uber lost its licence to operate in the British capital after what has been called a “pattern of failures”. The ride-hailing giant will appeal the decision so services will continue to be available until the process is fully complete.

A highway partly collapsed in Italy due to a mudslide, leaving motorists lucky not to plunge into the chasm below. The near-disaster comes just over a year since the deadly Morandi Bridge collapse in Genoa claimed 43 lives.

Former Commission climate boss Jos Delbeke welcomed new European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde’s call for more public investment, insisting that Europe’s transport networks need to be rebuilt

The European Council signed off on a recently brokered agreement on tyre labelling. It has faced criticism for failing to include criteria on abrasion or microplastics but the door is left open for changes.

German MEP Ismail Ertug thinks the EU needs a regulation on car data. At a separate event, Tim Embley of construction group Costain said that it will be problematic if there is not more clarity on who owns and who can access vehicle data.

Ukraine is on track for nearly half a billion euros in EIB funding for TEN-T networks. American billionaire Elon Musk pledged to roll out superchargers in the Eastern European country to complete his envisaged London-Shanghai EV-route.

Musk also finally unveiled Tesla’s first go at building a pickup truck, a staple of the US auto market. The futuristic-looking ‘Cybrtrck’ is moderately priced and boasts impressive performance, although its windows cracked during a demo of their supposed durability.

The latest season of all-electric motor racing series Formula E kicked off, with Mercedes and Porsche both making their full debuts in the sport.

Sky-high

Aviation industry groups have written to EU transport ministers insisting that they agree next week to update the Single European Sky initiative, which has been mothballed for nearly 10 years.

Updating air traffic management has been a long-time ask of aviation heads, who say that it could slash their industry’s emissions by around 10%, improve punctuality and increase European competition. The letter says a review is therefore essential.

The boss of airline Emirates said it took him a long time to accept climate change as a clear-and-present danger, even thanking Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg for his change of mind.

Tim Clark is clear though that battery-power, biofuels and synthetic fuels are either complete non-starters or nowhere-near-mature enough to offer alternatives. He instead said that upgrades in efficiency should be applauded.

But Norway has taken the first leap into creating biofuel demand. As of January, aircraft refuelling at its airports will have to blend in a minimum amount in order to increase carbon emissions cuts. It also plans to cancel a number of its Emission Trading Scheme allowances.

Air France has retired the first of its A380 superjumbos, as the Airbus-built, largest passenger plane sees its days in service numbered more and more. Production is set to end in 2021.

The Shipping News

In a victory for transparency, journalists will finally be able to quote International Maritime Organisation delegations, after several high-profile run-ins between reporters and the UN agency.

Check out this opinion piece on why the maritime sector should finally be included in the ETS, which is one of the key transport pledges made by Ursula von der Leyen’s incoming Commission.

Rescuers looked on in horror in Romania after a ship capsized in the port of Midia, killing more than 14,000 sheep on board. The crew and only 33 of the unlucky animals were pulled alive from the water.

On Track

In the UK, political parties have published their manifestos, making a number of high-profile pledges. The Conservatives claim they will build a third high-speed line in the north while the Lib Dems will convert the entire network to hydrogen or electric by 2035.

Labour will nationalise the railways once current franchise licences expire and will also make bus travel free for the under-25s. The Greens will scrap the High Speed 2 link but also slash rail fares.

Railways companies from France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland all unveiled plans to increase capacity and services in and out of the non-EU alpine neighbour, in an all-out assault on short haul flights.

In related news, the EU Council agreed to an update to the ETS that paves the way for the carbon market to link up with Switzerland’s domestic system.


A message from BP: Are you among the 34% of people who think Flying taxis will be commonplace by 2050? Explore what people surveyed think the future of transport might look like in a new report from transport research consultancy SYSTRA, commissioned by BP.

What else I’m reading or watching

  • EU transport decarbonisation: the cost [Euractiv]
  • Are electric vehicles really so climate friendly? [Guardian]
  • Barcelocals scrap cars for free transport card [The Local]
  • The 24-hour War [Netflix]

Next stops

MEPs have already descended on Strasbourg where they will notably vote on the Commission of Ursula von der Leyen tomorrow. They will also decide whether to declare a climate emergency.

Transport council gets underway on 2 December, look out for the SES discussion. Meeting page here.

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