Brussels, Belgium – The European Commission has put forward a package of new “Greening Transport” initiatives to help steer transport towards sustainability. The plan includes a strategy to ensure that the prices of transport better reflect their real cost to society, so that environmental damage and congestion can be gradually reduced in favour of boosting transport and economical efficiency.

The package also includes a proposal to enable member states to enforce efficient and greener road tolls for trucks, with the revenue used to reduce environmental impacts and cut congestion, and a communication to reduce noise from rail freight.

“This package is about tackling pollution and climate change, and making sure the polluter and not the taxpayer pays for environmental damage,” said Antonio Tajani, vice-president of the European Commission responsible for transport. “Among the results will be greener transport, fewer emissions, up to eight per cent less fuel consumption by lorries (trucks) and fewer hold-ups for all road users. Delays, unnecessary emissions and soaring costs are bad for transport companies, for their clients and for all of us. A more efficient and sustainable transport system will in the long run be a more user-friendly and cheaper transport system.”

Building on existing European Union measures and proposals, such as those on fuel taxation, it considers all external costs including climate change, local pollution, noise and congestion, and is accompanied by a common framework for estimating external costs in the EU. The directive will now go forward to the European Parliament and Council for debate; the Commission is hopeful of rapid adoption that will take effect before 2011.

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