The European Parliament today voted on a final agreement, revising EU legislation on road charging for heavy goods vehicles (the so-called Eurovignette). The Greens have called the legislative revision a missed opportunity for failing to truly include environmental and climate change costs in road charging for trucks. After the vote, Green transport spokesperson and shadow rapporteur for the Eurovignette directive Eva Lichtenberger said:
"The EU has missed an opportunity to truly reform road charging for trucks to ensure that the real costs of road transport on the environment and climate are included. The Greens voted for the proposal today, as the principle of charging for 'external costs' has been included for the first time in EU legislation, but we do so reluctantly, as the final legislation has been watered-down beyond all meaning, with a raft of external road transport costs excluded from the Eurovignette. On top of this, the legislation is riddled with loopholes, notably the exclusion of all vehicles below 12 tonnes."
Green transport spokesperson Michael Cramer added:
"While the costs of noise and air pollution will be included in the Eurovignette charging, other crucial 'external costs' of road transport have totally been left out. It is baffling that the costs of road accidents will be excluded from the charging. The environment also gets short shrift, with the costs of landscape and biodiversity damage, as well as climate change and oil dependence costs, also ignored. Crucially, the revised charging will be left to member states to apply voluntarily, which will ensure road transport continues to have an unfair advantage over rail transport. The final result is an excessively complicated legislative compromise, which will fail to ensure that real polluters are properly charged for the damage they cause and will fail to provide sufficient protection for sensitive areas, notably mountain regions."