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EU moves to curb heavy vehicle emissions

EU switches focus to heavy vehicles in attempt to slash carbon emissions from road transport.


Trucking operators in the European Union could soon face strict controls on vehicle emissions under a new initiative aimed at curbing the environmental impact of heavy vehicles.

The EU Commission has developed a computer simulation tool to measure the emissions from new heavy vehicles and intends to use the data gained to propose legislation next year requiring emissions to be certified, reported and monitored.

Emissions from the heavy vehicle sector are currently not reported or measured and the initiative marks the first time the EU has taken steps to address emissions from trucks, buses and coaches.

Once legislation is in place, the Commission says it may consider further measures to address emissions.

“The most apparent option is to set mandatory limits on average CO2 emissions from newly-registered HDVs [heavy-duty vehicles], as is already done for cars and vans,” the Commission says in the statement.

“Other options could include the development of modern infrastructure supporting alternative fuels for HDVs, smarter pricing on infrastructure usage, effective and coherent use of vehicle taxation by Member States and other market-based mechanisms.”

Heavy vehicle emissions represent about a quarter of road transport emissions and 5 per cent of total EU greenhouse gas emissions.

The Commission says emissions from heavy vehicles grew by 36 per cent between 1990 and 2010. It says current levels are unsustainable in light of the objective to reduce emissions from transport by around 60 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050.

Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard says the focus on heavy vehicles is the next step in the EU’s attempt to curb emissions from road transport.

“We first regulated cars and vans, and we can now see the results: emissions have been reduced, air pollution in cities is in decline, and more innovative, fuel-efficient vehicles are now available,” she says.

“That is why we turn now to trucks and buses. This strategy outlines new measures which over time will cut CO2 emissions of these vehicles, save operators money and make the EU less dependent on imported oil.”

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