IRU welcomes new EU transport decarbonisation strategy
IRU welcomes the publication of the European Commission’s new transport decarbonisation strategy, which contains a stronger commitment in enabling the greening of buses, coaches and trucks.
In a recent communication on its strategy, the Commission outlined several on-going initiatives and intended new measures for the European transport sector’s contribution to the general decarbonisation target, as agreed last year at COP21. Measures concentrate largely on road transport and IRU is pleased that more priority will be given to the greening of commercial vehicles.
IRU has repeatedly called on industry partners, EU Institutions and Member States to give higher priority to solutions that green heavy commercial vehicles, such as increasing operational efficiency, reducing fuel consumption, deploying alternative fuel vehicles, as well as further encouraging and enabling innovation.
Significant achievements have been made over the last 50 years to green the industry, yet further improvements remain a considerable challenge, notably minimising carbon footprints.
Marc Billiet, who leads IRU’s work on Environmental dossiers in the EU, commented, “Transport operators are willing to decarbonise if it leads to additional cost savings which can be reinvested in their businesses.”
Indeed, it is important to provide real business incentives for road transport operators to accelerate the market uptake of the latest and cleanest innovative transport technologies, best practices and training. “Facilitating better informed investment decisions based on environmental performance could help them in this respect”, added Marc Billiet.
IRU is committed to voluntarily reducing CO2 emissions in the industry. But making road freight transport artificially more expensive or forcing freight towards other transport modes should not be considered viable options to decarbonise road freight transport.
The European Commission is preparing action to allow the further development of bus and coach services, which IRU welcomes. Their plans align with findings from the public-private European Citizens’ Mobility Forum; that more collective mobility by bus, coach and taxi is the shortest and cheapest way for society to reduce passenger transport’s carbon footprint.
However, IRU considers it too early to decide on including transport by bus and coach in an EU road pricing and external cost framework. The Commission should first produce sound scientific evidence indicating whether or not this sector is insufficiently contributing before a decision is taken on who should pay how much, where and how.
IRU is involved in a number of transport decarbonisation initiatives at EU level, including in the field of collective passenger transport, training, alternative fuel vehicles and innovation. IRU remains highly interested in working together with EU Institutions on implementing this strategy, with the goal of helping people and goods move better.