The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) adopted by a large majority the Parliament Resolution drafted by MEP Jörg Leichtfried (S&D, AT). The Resolution calls on the European Commission to assess the impact of longer and heavier vehicles on the environment, road safety and infrastructure adaptation costs, as well as on rail freight, before any attempt to further liberalise their use is made.
Today´s vote once again highlights the opposition to longer and heavier vehicles and the necessity to promote the future development of freight traffic in connection with inter-modal solutions. At the same time, changes made to the current modal split at the expense of more sustainable transport modes must be avoided.
CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “The Parliament vote is good news from a transport and from an environmental viewpoint. The more you open the door to megatrucks, the more freight will shift away from sustainable transport modes. It is necessary to invest in rail freight, as the EU shows in the recently adopted Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) budget, to achieve the EU’s overall targets in transport policy: reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and decreased dependency on oil.”
CER has consistently underlined the consequences of introducing longer and heavier vehicles on rail freight, which could amount to over 35% of rail freight being shifted back to road on specific corridors1. Allowing any wider use of megatrucks will inevitably lead to a domino effect and, in time, to their general use across Europe. This would undermine the Commission’s own agenda for modal shift from road to rail and inland waterways, set out in the 2011 Transport White Paper.
The European Parliament has recognised the important concerns raised by several stakeholders, and called upon the Commission to carry out a proper impact assessment by 2016, and in any case before any further changes to the weights and dimensions of trucks are proposed.
CER Executive Director Libor Lochman added that CER will continue to draw the Commission´s attention to the impact of longer and heavier vehicles: “We welcome the Parliament’s clear call for the Commission to publish a proper impact assessment on this subject before any decision is taken. Openly discussing the impact of longer and heavier vehicles is a constructive way forward. Unilateral decisions and reinterpretations of Directive 96/53, like the Commission’s attempt in 2012, should not occur.”