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Procedure : 2008/2240(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0055/2009

Texts tabled :

A6-0055/2009

Debates :

PV 10/03/2009 - 13
PV 10/03/2009 - 15
CRE 10/03/2009 - 13
CRE 10/03/2009 - 15

Votes :

PV 11/03/2009 - 5.19
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2009)0119

Texts adopted
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Wednesday, 11 March 2009 - Strasbourg
Greening of transport and internalisation of external costs
P6_TA(2009)0119A6-0055/2009

European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2009 on the greening of transport and the internalisation of external costs (2008/2240(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 8 July 2008 entitled "Greening Transport" (COM(2008)0433),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 8 July 2008 entitled "Strategy for the internalisation of external costs" (COM(2008)0435),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 8 July 2008 entitled "Rail noise abatement measures addressing the existing fleet" (COM(2008)0432),

–   having regard to its resolution of 12 July 2007 on keeping Europe moving – Sustainable mobility for our continent(1),

–   having regard to its resolution of 11 March 2008 on sustainable European transport policy, taking into account European energy and environment policies(2),

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A6-0055/2009),

A.   whereas the European Union's objectives are to reduce greenhouse gases by 20%, increase the use of renewable energy sources to 20% and reduce energy consumption by 20%, all by 2020,

B.   whereas, as far as greening transport is concerned, the Commission has put forward a number of suggestions aimed at combating climate change, a communication on the internalisation of external costs for all modes of transport, a communication on rail noise abatement, and one specific legislative proposal revising the tolls applicable to heavy goods vehicles,

C.   whereas Article 11, third and fourth paragraphs, of the Eurovignette Directive(3) as amended in 2006 stipulated that: "No later than 10 June 2008, the Commission shall present, after examining all options including environment, noise, congestion and health-related costs, a generally applicable, transparent and comprehensible model for the assessment of all external costs to serve as the basis for future calculations of infrastructure charges. This model shall be accompanied by an impact analysis of the internalisation of external costs for all modes of transport and a strategy for a stepwise implementation of the model for all modes of transport. The report and the model shall be accompanied, if appropriate, by proposals to the European Parliament and the Council for further revision of this Directive',

D.   whereas internalisation must be integrated into a more comprehensive policy to promote co-modality and a sustainable transport system and this policy must also include the promotion of research, funding of infrastructure, opening of markets and standardisation; whereas, nevertheless, these price signals will not in themselves be sufficient to change the behaviour of users unless the necessary alternatives are available to them (cleaner cars, alternative forms of transport, etc.),

E.   whereas the Commission has convincingly described the public health nuisance caused by rail noise; however as a cornerstone to its rail noise abatement initiative, it is merely setting out a requirement for freight wagons to be retrofitted with low-noise brakes,

Greening of transport

1.  Welcomes the Commission communication on greening transport as an important first partial step towards a more comprehensive approach making for more environmentally friendly transport in its many and varied modes as well as recognition of the importance and necessity of making transport more efficient in the context of combating climate change;

2.  Points out that mobility greatly benefits personal quality of life, growth and employment in the EU, socio-economic and territorial cohesion, trade with non-EU countries, and the firms and employees involved directly or indirectly in the transport sector and logistics;

3.  Recognises that, as well as having positive effects and being indispensable for the European Union's economic development and socio-economic and territorial cohesion, mobility also entails adverse consequences for the natural environment and for people, and therefore maintains that European transport policy – without disregarding the legitimate interests of individuals and industry where mobility is concerned – should continue to aim to green the transport sector so as to cancel out, or at any rate reduce, the harmful effects of transport, in line with the Union's objectives on combating global warming by 2020;

4.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission, in its communication, has compiled an "inventory" of EU measures to date to promote a sustainable transport policy;

5.  Regrets that the Commission has failed to produce an integrated plan to green transport, that is to say, covering every transport sector; observes that the Commission has already taken preliminary initiatives which should ultimately lead to a comprehensive strategy for the internalisation of external costs in all modes of transport; but has so far instead:

   adopted a piecemeal approach drawn up in a Handbook for estimating the external costs of transport and for their internalisation in individual sectors (see the 'Handbook on estimation of external costs in the transport sector'),
   has submitted a proposal to amend Directive 1999/62/EC (the Eurovignette Directive), which is intended to permit Member States to charge for the external costs arising from heavy goods vehicles, in line with Article 11 of that Directive,
   proposed taxing the external costs caused by rail noise via noise-differentiated infrastructure charges;

6.  Calls on the Commission, therefore, where every mode of transport is concerned, to provide for the measures and instruments required to make transport greener, taking into account the international conventions in force and the measures already implemented in the various transport sectors; with reference to those proposals, to conduct scientifically sound assessments of the impact of the individual measures and their competition implications in terms of modes as well as their impact on the costs of mobility and competitiveness; and, proceeding from that basis, to submit an integrated plan for the greening of transport, together with specific legislative proposals;

Internalisation of external costs

7.  Notes that in its communication on the strategy for the internalisation of external costs, the Commission has failed to fulfil the obligation imposed on it by the Parliament and the Council, under the Article 11 of the amended Eurovignette Directive, since it has not – by its own admission – devised and put forward a generally applicable, transparent, and comprehensible model for the assessment of external costs as a whole, given that it has not analysed the impact on every mode of transport and, at the practical level, has produced only for heavy goods vehicles a first step for a strategy for the stepwise implementation of the model for all modes of transport;

8.  Notes that the Commission communication makes copious references to the Handbook published in January 2008 regarding the calculation of external costs, which brings together the most recent scientific knowledge concerning the calculation of external costs in the transport sector;

9.  Notes that the Commission, in its communication, has put forward scientifically coherent justifications for the charging of individual external costs to various modes of transport, and has adopted what it terms a "pragmatic approach based on the average cost"; generally supports the Commission's basis of marginal social cost pricing, in line with the White Paper on Transport of 2001;

10.  Notes that in its communication and in the proposal for a directive amending Directive 1999/62/EC (the Eurovignette Directive), the Commission explicitly takes account of the "polluter pays" principle laid down in Article 175(5) of the Treaty; calls on the Commission, however, in further steps with regard to the internalisation of external costs, to take account of all forms of internalisation of external costs which already exist, such as oil taxes and road tolls;

11.  Calls on the Commission, when putting forward further proposals to green the transport sector, to include assessments of the impact of competition between transport modes and associated social and environmental impacts, as was done with the proposal to amend Directive 1999/62/EC (the Eurovignette Directive), and to include the costs of mobility and competitiveness;

12.  Regrets the fact that the Commission has not proposed measures to mitigate the effects of increased remoteness arising from EU enlargement and has not made any forecasts regarding the consequences of its application, in particular in those Member States with geographical barriers and for those which do not as yet have multimodal alternatives; calls, therefore, on the Commission to remedy these shortcomings as part of the forthcoming review of the trans-European transport networks (TEN-T);

13.  Encourages the Commission, to this end, to submit a supplementary proposal for multimodal mobility corridors ('green corridors') as part of the review of the TEN-T, offsetting the burdens imposed by the present proposal by enabling accessibility and mobility without obstacles;

14.  Calls on the Commission to take steps without delay firstly, to produce specific proposals for all modes of transport and secondly, to perform the task deriving from Article 11 of the amended Eurovignette Directive by submitting a comprehensive plan for calculating and charging external costs and assessing their impact on the basis of a comprehensible model;

Rail noise abatement

15.  Recognises that in its communication on rail noise abatement measures for the existing fleet, the Commission has responded to the need to reduce the noise nuisance, from freight wagons in particular, for persons living by the side of railway lines;

16.  Underlines that the retrofitting of wagons at a reasonable cost presupposes the resolution of the existing technical obstacles, as well as the elimination of administrative burdens in the relevant certificates, as soon as possible and before the adoption of any binding legislative measure;

17.  Calls on the Commission to draw up a proposal for a directive with a view to introducing noise-related track access charges for locomotives and wagons in order to provide incentives as quickly as possible for railway undertakings to re-equip their fleets rapidly with low-noise vehicles by replacing brake blocks; considers that, if and wherever necessary, short-term measures may also be considered and that no legislative measure should have a negative impact on the rail sector in intermodal competition;

18.  Looks to the Commission to provide in its proposal for a practicable way of ensuring, through earmarking of revenue, that upgrading of this kind will not be confined to wagons belonging to railway undertakings, but will also extend to wagons of other companies carried by railway undertakings;

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19.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 175 E, 10.7.2008, p. 556.
(2) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2008)0087.
(3) Directive 1999/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 1999 on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures (OJ L 187, 20.7.1999, p. 42).

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