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Parliamentary questions
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18 March 2014
E-003192-14
Question for written answer E-003192-14
to the Council
Rule 117
Marita Ulvskog (S&D) , Åsa Westlund (S&D)

 Subject:  Environmental benefits of longer lorries
 Answer in writing 

For two years the lorry manufacturer Volvo, the haulage firm Schenker, and the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) and Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen) have been working on an experimental project called DUO2 with a view to reducing CO2 emissions from road transport.

In this experiment, a specially constructed 32 m lorry was driven between Gothenburg and Malmö, which proved to have considerable environmental benefits compared to using ordinary lorries. A similarly constructed lorry has also been travelling between Överkalix and Piteå [in Norrbotten County, northern Sweden] since 2009. The projects have exceeded all expectations, both as regards CO2 emissions and safety.

A 32 m lorry emits 28% less per tonne than a lorry built to the European standard (a 16 m tractor unit pulling a semi-trailer), which constitutes a clear environmental benefit.

With modern technology providing effective brakes on each axle, the braking distance is no longer than for other lorries. A study carried out as part of the project also showed that most other road users did not notice any difference in overtaking, even though the combination is seven metres longer.

Rail transport is of course to be preferred to road transport, because railways generate still fewer emissions. Unfortunately, however, rail capacity falls short of what is needed. These longer lorries could therefore provide a more environmentally friendly complementary option while rail capacity is being increased.

1. Is the Council aware of these experimental projects and their clear environmental benefits?

2. Does the Council propose to take the result of these experimental projects into account when reviewing its ‘proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 96/53/EC of 25 July 1996 laying down for certain road vehicles circulating within the Community the maximum authorised dimensions in national and international traffic and the maximum authorised weights in international traffic’?

Original language of question: SVOJ C 435, 04/12/2014
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