Category Archives: Transport, Energy and the Environment

Transport is the source of nearly a third of the European Union’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Their reduction, particularly in the context of the Kyoto Protocol, requires research and the introduction of alternative solutions, specifically in the road transport sector. The Union has thus defined a policy to promote biofuels and the reduction of emissions in road and air transport. Shipping also presents the problem of marine pollution. The Union intervenes to limit pollution caused by vessels, as well as to penalise malicious conduct.

Transport and the environment

Transport and the environment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Transport and the environment

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Transport energy and the environment

Transport and the environment

Document or Iniciative

Council report of 6 October 1999 to the European Council of Helsinki on the strategy on the integration of environment and sustainable development into transport policy.

Summary

This Council strategy defines the objectives of action by the European Union (EU) and the Member States to minimise the environmental impact of transport. It aims to ensure that environmental questions are taken into account when drawing up and implementing transport policy in the sectors concerned.

The strategy recognises the positive results of certain measures already taken at EU level, but underlines that further progress is required in the following areas:

  • avoidance and/or elimination of the negative effects of traffic growth, particularly through land use measures and infrastructure charging;
  • promotion of public transport, inter modal and combined transport and environmentally less harmful modes (e.g. railways and inland waterway);
  • further research and technological development, in particular to reduce CO2 emissions and noise;
  • raising of awareness among the public, vehicle drivers and the industry of how to reduce the environmental impact of transport, e.g. through indicators and vehicle standardisation.

The strategy calls on Member States to take these measures at national level and within the framework of international organisations. The Commission is invited to gather and disseminate information (including indicators) in these areas, present proposals on pricing and emission standards and encourage the transport sector in various ways.

A number of measures preceded and followed this strategy in various transport sectors: road, rail, maritime and air transport.

Infrastructure charging

It is possible to make users bear certain environmental costs resulting from their use of transport, particularly where they use transport infrastructures (“polluter pays” principle). This taking account of external environmental costs in infrastructure charging is authorised by two sectoral Directives. There is, however, no common legislative framework for all transport modes that would propose a common methodology and timetable in order to avoid distortions of competition.

As regards the transport of goods by road, Directive 1999/62/EC provides a common framework for fixing user charges for motorway infrastructures or those with similar characteristics. The Directive does not provide for charging for environmental costs in addition to the infrastructure cost per se. It does however allow charges to be varied to take account of levels of pollution from heavy goods vehicles and the time of day. The proposed revision of this Directive will be adopted soon and will allow Member States to apply tolls and user charges on all other roads. The principal changes are as follows:

  • application of the Directive to vehicles over 3.5 tonnes from 2012, where currently it applies only to vehicles over 12 tonnes;
  • greater scope for varying tolls on the basis of environmental criteria (to encourage the use of cleaner vehicles) and time of day (to discourage traffic during peak hours and thus reduce jams);
  • variation of tolls on the basis of vehicle emission classes will be compulsory after 2010, with possible derogations;
  • possibility of introducing a increased toll on certain trans-European corridors in mountain areas to allow cross-financing of alternative transport infrastructures.

For rail transport, Directive 2001/14/EC allows the variation of charges on the basis of revenue neutrality but does not make it compulsory to charge for environmental costs in addition to infrastructure costs and these are not charged to the railway operators. Few infrastructure managers apply such variation in practice.

Proposals concerning charging for port and airport infrastructures, as well as a framework communication, are contained in the Commission work programme for 2006.

Road transport

The adoption since 1970 of a number of Directives relating to emissions from motor vehicles, whether light vehicles (cars, light commercial vehicles) or heavy vehicles (lorries, buses) has had the effect of gradually reducing emissions of gases and particles as well as, to some extent, the noise from the vehicles used. The reductions in atmospheric emissions laid down by EURO I to V concern four main pollutants: carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), particles and hydrocarbons.

As regards CO2, the Community objective is to achieve an average emission level from new vehicles of 120 g CO2/km. Europe has a three-pronged approach in this connection:

  • voluntary commitments by the automobile industry under which European (ACEA), Japanese (JAMA) and Korean (KAMA) car makers have undertaken to reduce average emissions from new vehicles by 25% between 1995 and 2008-2009 (from 186 g CO2/km in 1995 to 140 g CO2/km in 2008-2009). Compliance with these commitments is the subject of annual reports by the Commission;
  • better information for consumers on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions;
  • introduction of fiscal measures to promote the purchase of less polluting vehicles.

Moreover, the standards relating to transport fuel quality have been significantly improved, in particular as regards their sulphur content. The EU has also established an indicative percentage of biofuels to replace diesel or petrol for transport purposes in each Member State (2% in 2005 and 5.75% in 2010).

Directive 1999/30/EC lays down limit values for NOx, SO2, particles and lead and alert thresholds for SO2 and NOx in ambient air. Member States must ensure that up-to-date information on the concentrations of these substances is regularly made available to the public. The limit values for NOx were due to be reached in 2001, those concerning SO2 and the EU10 in 2005 and those concerning NO2 and lead in 2010.

Non-road land transport

Polluting emissions from railway transport are regulated by the Directive on non-road mobile machinery.

Under Directive 96/48/EC on the interoperability of the trans-European high-speed rail system, the technical specifications for interoperability (TSI) on high-speed rolling stock lay down noise limits. Following its amendment in 2004, Directive 2001/16/EC does the same for the trans-European conventional rail system.

Maritime and inland waterway transport

The EU has adopted a strategy to reduce the atmospheric emissions of seagoing ships. It has also put in place a raft of measures on maritime safety in order to prevent further ecological disasters like the Erika or Prestige. These measures concern among other things the prevention of pollution caused by ships, mechanisms for cooperation in the event of marine pollution and the possibility of criminal sanctions against those responsible for marine pollution.

Polluting emissions from inland waterway vessels are regulated by the Directive on non-road mobile machinery.

Air transport

In a communication on air transport and the environment, the Commission identified the pillars of a strategy for incorporating environmental concerns in air transport policy: improving technical environmental standards relating to noise and atmospheric emissions; strengthening economic incentives; helping airports in their environmental efforts; promoting research and development in the long term.

As regards noise, the EU has adopted rules on noise management in Community airports. These rules are based in particular on decisions taken within the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). They include a ban on access to European airports for the noisiest aircraft and aircraft construction standards.

In its communication on aviation and climate change, the Commission weighs up the options for reducing the impact of the aviation sector on climate change. Apart from pursuing the possibilities available in relation to research, air traffic management and energy taxation, it also proposes to incorporate the air transport sector into the Community greenhouse gas emissions trading system.

Transport and noise

Under Directive 2002/49/EC, Member States have to map ambient noise levels from major transport infrastructures and urban transport in agglomerations. They must also draw up ambient noise management plans aimed at reducing harmful exposure and protecting quiet areas. Community legislation does not define limit values for ambient noise and leaves Member States and the competent authorities in question to decide how to protect against noise.

Context

The growth in vehicle numbers and use is a threat to the environment and the health of European citizens.

The European Environment Agency measures, analyses and, under the TERM (Transport & Environment Reporting Mechanism), regularly reports on the environmental impact of transport. The Agency underlines the risks of the EU failing to meet its commitments under the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The thematic strategy on atmospheric pollution fixes targets for the reduction of certain pollutants and reinforces the legislative framework to combat atmospheric pollution using a two-pronged approach: improving Community environmental legislation and including air quality considerations in related policies. As provided for in the strategy, the Commission has proposed a new “EURO V” standard to reduce polluting emissions from light motor vehicles and in particular reduce emissions from vehicles with diesel engines by 80%. The strategy also envisages a number of measures to reduce emissions of SO2 and NOx from ships (these emissions are forecast to exceed emissions from land sources by 2020).

The proposal for a Directive on energy end use efficiency and energy services underlines the important role of fuels and the transport sector in relation to energy efficiency and energy saving. It lays down a number of measures to this end.

The thematic strategy on the urban environment underlines the need to introduce plans for the sustainable urban transport of persons and goods, including environmental requirements, and linked to policies on optimum land use. It announces the distribution by the Commission of a practical guide for urban authorities to help them introduce such plans and disseminate good practice.

The formulation of this strategy was requested by the Vienna European Council (December 1998). There were calls for other strategies in the various sectors of Community action at that European Council and the Cologne European Council (June 1999). The European Council in Cardiff (June 1998) laid the foundations for coordinated action at Community level on the integration of environmental requirements in European Union policies.

Related Acts


Decision No 1753/2000/EC

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 2000 establishing a scheme to monitor the average specific emissions of CO2 from new passenger cars [Official Journal L 202, 10.8.2000].

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, of 31 March 1998, on Transport and CO2: developing a Community approach [

COM(98) 204

– Not published in the Official Journal].

Transport, energy and the environment

Transport, energy and the environment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Transport, energy and the environment

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Transport energy and the environment

Transport, energy and the environment

Transport is the source of nearly a third of the European Union’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Their reduction, particularly in the context of the Kyoto Protocol, requires research and the introduction of alternative solutions, specifically in the road transport sector. The Union has thus defined a policy to promote biofuels and the reduction of emissions in road and air transport. Shipping also presents the problem of marine pollution. The Union intervenes to limit pollution caused by vessels, as well as to penalise malicious conduct.

PROTECTION AND THE ENVIRONMENT

  • Clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles
  • The Transport Protocol of the Alpine Convention
  • Transport and the environment
  • Integrating the environment into aerial transport
  • Aviation and climate change
  • Noise management at EU airports
  • Internalisation of external transport costs

BIOFUELS AND EMISSIONS REDUCTION

  • Reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from light commercial vehicles
  • Reduction in CO? emissions of new passenger cars
  • Emissions from heavy duty vehicles (Euro VI): certification rules
  • “Green” vehicles: a European strategy
  • EU strategy for biofuels
  • Reduction of pollutant emissions from light vehicles
  • Pollutant gases of wheeled agricultural or forestry tractors

PREVENTION OF MARINE POLLUTION

  • Strategy to reduce atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships
  • Maritime safety: prevention of pollution from ships
  • Ship-source pollution and criminal penalties
  • Maritime safety: Bunkers Convention
  • Maritime safety: compensation fund for oil pollution damage
  • Maritime safety: prohibition of organotin compounds on ships

Integrating the environment into aerial transport

Integrating the environment into aerial transport

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Integrating the environment into aerial transport

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Transport energy and the environment

Integrating the environment into aerial transport

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 1 December 1998 to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Air Transport and the Environment [COM(1999) 640 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Globally, air transport contributes to the greenhouse effect and to the depletion of the ozone layer. Regionally, it contributes to acidification, ozone formation and eutrophication. Locally, in the vicinity of airports, air transport is partly the cause of noise and air pollution.

This communication sets out the strategy the European Union is to pursue to put in place a coherent and environmentally friendly policy in the field of air transport.

The pillars of the strategy

The first pillar of the strategy proposed in the communication is the improvement of technical environmental standards on noise and gaseous emissions. One example of practical action is the improvement of air traffic management systems, which should allow a major saving in fuel consumption.

The communication also proposes the introduction of economic and regulatory market incentives to enhance the competitive edge of operators and users which choose to use state-of-the-art technologies and environmentally friendly operations. The Commission will work to integrate environmental costs into charging systems and to improve the infrastructure at intermodal connecting points so that users and operators can actually choose more environmentally friendly services.

Another pillar indicated in the communication is environmental protection measures to be applied in airports. Under this pillar of the Community strategy, various action is proposed to assist airports, limit noise and link airports to other modes of transport.

The communication emphasises the need to encourage research and innovation relating to the environmental performance of aircraft, including assessment of the atmospheric effect of aircraft exhaust gas emissions. A long-term strategy of this nature is essential.

The communication invites the air transport industry to sign voluntary environmental agreements and to register under the EMAS scheme.

The Commission underlines the importance of adopting international solutions within the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

https://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/l28116.htm

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 27 September 2005: Reducing the Climate Change Impact of Aviation [COM(2005) 459 – Not published in the Official Journal].

The Commission considers the options available for reducing the impact of the air transport sector on climate change. In particular, it suggests – in addition to pursuing the possibilities offered in research, air traffic management and energy taxation – integrating the air transport sector into the Community Emissions Trading Scheme.


Directive 2002/30/EC

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 March 2002 on the establishment of rules and procedures with regard to the introduction of noise-related operating restrictions at Community airports [Official Journal L 85 of 28 March 2002].

The purpose of this Directive is to prevent an overall increase in noise and to seek to reduce aircraft noise in order to improve the current acoustic environment, in particular by gradually phasing out the noisiest aircraft.

Communication [COM(2000) 821 final Not published in the Official Journal]. Communication from the Commission to the Council: Community objectives for the 33rd Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and ICAO Council decisions prior to this Assembly in the field of environmental protection. The communication sets out the following Community objectives:

  • deal with the impact, in terms of noise pollution, of the increase in demand for air transport: the Community will seek the adoption both of a resolution on limiting the operation of the least noise-efficient aircraft, and of a more stringent noise standard for aircraft;
  • introduce more stringent standards for all gaseous emissions from air transport;
  • strengthening economic incentives to improve the environmental performance of aircraft.

The 33rd ICAO Assembly was held in September 2001.

Noise management at EU airports

Noise management at EU airports

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Noise management at EU airports

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Transport energy and the environment

Noise management at EU airports

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2002/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 March 2002 on the establishment of rules and procedures with regard to the introduction of noise?related operating restrictions at Community airports [See amending act].

Summary

This directive aims to promote the sustainable development of air transport through the reduction of noise pollution from aircraft at airports. The use of aircraft with a better environmental performance can contribute to a more effective use of the available airport capacity and facilitate the development of airport infrastructure in line with market requirements.

The directive lays down common rules for prohibiting the noisiest aircraft from European airports and repeals Regulation (EC) No 925/1999, the ‘Hushkit’ Regulation, which was intended to prohibit the registration in Europe of aircraft fitted with noise-reducing devices.

This new directive allows airports with a noise problem to introduce a series of operating restrictions, including the gradual withdrawal of the noisiest aircraft. The ‘Hushkit Regulation’ had maintained the status quo and did not provide for the withdrawal of aircraft fitted with noise-muffling systems already operating in Europe.

EU countries’ competent authorities may prohibit or restrict the use of aircraft whose compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) noise standards is only ‘marginal’, i.e. aircraft which meet the standards in force by a margin of no more than 5 decibels.

The airport authorities must establish the existence of a noise nuisance by carrying out an impact assessment and prove that all other available measures to reduce noise at the airport concerned have been taken.

Objectives and content

The ‘Hushkits Regulation’ was a response to the inability to reach an agreement within the ICAO on measures to control aircraft noise. Hushkits are devices fitted to the engines of older designs of aircraft in order to reduce their noise levels.

In the directive, noise management is structured around a balanced approach. It is an approach that involves solving noise problems on an ‘airport-by-airport’ basis and requires careful assessment of four key elements:

  • reduction of aeroplane noise at source;
  • land-use planning and management measures;
  • noise abatement operational procedures;
  • local operating restrictions relating to noise problems.

The objectives of the directive are to:

  • lay down rules for the EU to facilitate the introduction of operating restrictions in a consistent manner at airport level so as to limit or reduce the number of people significantly affected by the harmful effects of noise;
  • provide a framework which safeguards internal market requirements;
  • promote development of airport capacity in harmony with the environment;
  • facilitate the achievement of specific noise abatement objectives at individual airport level;
  • achieve maximum environmental benefit in the most cost-effective manner.

The directive allows for more stringent noise standards. However, unlike the ‘Hushkits Regulation’, it allows such restrictions to be imposed only at the most noise?sensitive airports (those with more than 50 000 movements per year and city airports).

Four city airports (Berlin-Tempelhof, Stockholm Bromma, London City and Belfast City) will be able to apply more stringent rules. Aircraft registered in developing countries and already in use before December 2001 at the European airports concerned may be exempted for a period of ten years.

As the directive lays down identical rules for all airports, it also ensures compliance with the rules of the internal market by preventing unfair competition between airports.

The directive allows for a common approach for assessing the current and foreseeable noise climate. If necessary, airports may require that ‘marginally compliant’ aircraft, i.e. old aircraft fitted with systems which reduce noise by small amounts, be withdrawn.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2002/30/EC

28.3.2002

28.9.2003

OJ L 85, 28.3.2002

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1137/2008

11.12.2008

OJ L 311, 21.11.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2002/30/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purposes only.

Related Acts

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 15 February 2008 – Noise Operation Restrictions at EU Airports – (Report on the application of Directive 2002/30/EC) [COM(2008) 66 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The report looks at whether the objective of Directive 2002/30/EC has been achieved and to what extent the directive itself contributed to this. It includes an assessment of the directive’s effectiveness and concludes that it:

  • has made it possible to create a harmonised structure for a balanced approach and to ensure that all interests are taken into account when restrictions are considered;
  • has been used only at a limited number of airports and is not sufficiently clear;
  • has had a limited impact on aircraft.

Furthermore, the report notes that, in general, the number of people affected by noise has increased because the number of movements has increased.
The Commission predicts that the number of people affected will continue to rise and therefore intends to look into whether it would be possible to clarify both the provisions of the directive and its scope.

Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2002 relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise [Official Journal L 189 of 18 July 2002].

The Transport Protocol of the Alpine Convention

The Transport Protocol of the Alpine Convention

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Transport Protocol of the Alpine Convention

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Transport energy and the environment

The Transport Protocol of the Alpine Convention

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2007/799/EC of 12 October 2006 on the signature, on behalf of the Community, of the Protocol on the Implementation of the Alpine Convention in the field of transport (Transport Protocol).

Summary

By Council Decision 96/191/EC, the European Union (EU) concluded the Convention on the Protection of the Alps. This aims to preserve the natural ecosystem and promote sustainable development of the Alps, while also protecting the economic and cultural interests of local populations. The Alpine Convention has a permanent committee made up of representatives of the contracting parties.

The signing by the EU of this protocol is also intended as a political message to all concerned, inviting the contracting parties to sign and ratify it.

Objectives

The protocol has the following objectives:

  • to reduce the actual and potential harmful effects of intra-alpine transport;
  • to contribute to the development of habitats and economic areas through a harmonised transport policy which is shared by the countries concerned and integrates different modes of transport (road, rail, etc.);
  • to mitigate the threat to the biodiversity of the Alpine region and its natural and cultural heritage;
  • to ensure through more efficient and sustainable transport systems that the movement of traffic is economically viable.

The contracting parties to the Convention thus undertake to take into account, in their management of the Alpine region, the risks and harmful effects associated with traffic, such as pollution (noise or chemical), and the security of people and property. In parallel, therefore, the signatories must:

  • increase the profitability of the transport sector;
  • optimise use of existing infrastructures;
  • take transport issues into account when evaluating and implementing other policies;
  • involve regional and local authorities in decision-making.

Specific measures and strategies

Furthermore, the Alpine Convention sets out a number of specific measures and strategies, all designed to promote sound, safe transport management based on the following principles:

  • sound coordination between different modes and means of transport;
  • promotion of intermodality;
  • transfer of traffic to more environmentally-friendly modes of transport;
  • protection of communication routes from natural hazards;
  • protection of people and the environment;
  • gradual reduction of hazardous substance emissions and noise;
  • introduction and development of user-friendly, environmental public transport;
  • use of impact studies for planned projects and consultation of those affected.

The convention also defines specific principles for the different modes of transport:

  • bolstering rail transport through the improvement and better use of infrastructure, and promoting intermodality for goods transport;
  • taking greater advantage of the scope for river and sea transport;
  • as to road transport, the signatories must avoid building new large-capacity routes. However, projects may be carried out if the environmental impact is minimised;
  • the harmful effects of air transport must be brought down to a minimum. Non-motorised aerial leisure activities must also be limited.

“Polluter pays” principle

The protocol also encourages the contracting parties to apply the “polluter pays” principle and establish a method that factors environmental costs into calculations of overall outlay on infrastructure.

The signatories must regularly report to the permanent committee on the measures taken under the protocol. The committee draws up a report declaring that the protocol has been complied with.

Background

On 14 May 1991, the Council authorised the Commission to take part in the negotiations to establish the Alpine Convention and its protocols.

The Transport Protocol was opened for signature by the contracting parties at the ministerial meeting of the Convention in Lucerne on 30 and 31 October 2000.

The Council signed the Transport Protocol of the Alpine Convention on 12 December 2006. This decision was accompanied by a joint Council and Commission declaration on the interpretation of the Protocol.

The other contracting parties of the Convention – apart from the European Community – are Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Decision 2007/799/EC 12.1.2007 OJ L 323, 8.12.2007