Transport Committee greenlights emission-capping urban mobility report

French MEP Karima Delli (Green), rapporteur on the urban mobility report

French MEP Karima Delli (Green), rapporteur on the urban mobility report [European Parliament]

The European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) approved a report on sustainable transport in cities today (10 November) that includes measures on digitising transport infrastructure and capping emissions. The bill will be voted on in a plenary session on 2 December and is intended as a set of recommendations for the European Commission ahead of a legislative proposal expected in 2017.

MEPs approved the non-binding report with 41 votes in favour, 4 opposing and no abstentions.

The committee vote comes amid the Commission’s drive to fund intelligent transport systems and infrastructure that relies on digital features to cut fuel use, help drivers find parking or communicate with public authorities and other vehicles.

The Commission is directing funds towards smart cities projects through Horizon2020 and other programmes to increase the use of technology in city management, with transport featuring prominently in those funding schemes.

Last week, the Commission opened a new funding call targeting digital transport infrastructure and intelligent transport systems.

>>Read: Commission billions to go to large-scale transport infrastructure

French MEP Karima Delli (Green) tweeted after today’s vote, “Clean diesel is a mythology created by the auto lobby.”

MEPs lodged amendments to scrap parts of the report that called for more funding to go to shared and public transport and for rail to be the main mode of transport used for shipping in cities.

An oral amendment from Delli referring to the “favourable taxation” of diesel was rejected. Delli’s staff say she’ll table the amendment again before the report is voted on in plenary next month.

“We must enter the 21th century and move towards a sustainable mobility affordable to everyone,” Delli said.

Finnish MEP Hanna Virkkunen (EPP), shadow rapporteur on the report, said she was happy with the outcome of the vote. But after the Parliament’s vote last month on emissions standards, Virkkunen said there is no need for MEPs to take on more measures to regulate diesel.

“Diesel is necessary for Europe if we want to reach the 2020 goals and reduction in CO2 emissions. At the same time we need to utilise the low carbon technologies we already have, but in a technologically neutral way,” Virkkunen told EURACTIV, adding that a diesel tax should be left up to member states.

>>Read: German MEPs oppose stricter car emissions tests

William Todts, manager of the transport programme at NGO Transport & Environment, said, “EU vehicle standards will be absolutely key in delivering the cleaner and safer cars, vans and trucks that Europe’s cities need.”

The report also asks for the Commission to introduce new emissions caps by 2025 and 2030.

Commission officials say they’re getting ready to propose policies to help expand intelligent transport systems and are focusing on infrastructure that uses technology to make transport more efficient.

Jacob Bansgaard, director general of the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile’s Brussels office, said, “Intelligent Transport Systems should be swiftly deployed, as they can greatly improve life in European cities. Mobility fosters growth and society suffers when urban transportation is not optimised.”

>>Read: Dieselgate exposes member state opposition to emissions curbs

Passenger cars alone are responsible for around 12% of total EU emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas.

In 2007, the EU proposed legislation setting emissions performance standards for new cars, which was adopted in 2009 by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers.

Under today's Cars Regulation, the fleet average to be achieved by all new cars is 130 grams of CO2 per km (g/km) by 2015 – with the target phased in from 2012.

Proposals published in 2012 set further targets of 95g for new passenger cars by 2020, and 147 g/km for vans.

Germany then pressured ministers to weaken the target. 

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