EU will make it easier for cities to enforce their air quality policies
More and more cities in Europe are trying to impose restrictions on highly contaminating vehicles. However, it is difficult to enforce these measures as long as these vehicles continue to cross through cities without any restriction.
Today, the European Parliament found an agreement with the European Council on updated electronic road tolling rules which would ensure that all road users pay their tolls, wherever they are in the EU. As supported by the S&D Group, the updated Directive extends the European exchange of information framework to cities who have put in place fees for Clean Air Zones. The European Commission should also come up with an assessment to ensure future extension of the scope to all low-emission zones and further measures to facilitate mutual assistance agreements between member states.
This is part of a legislative proposal to improve the interoperability between different national electronic road toll systems and to facilitate the exchange of information on those drivers who fail to pay the road fee in another European country.
S&D spokesperson on this file, Olga Sehnalová MEP, said:
“The Directive which has been successfully approved today, will allow the deployment of a European electronic toll service (EETS). In the near future, this will enable drivers to use only one on-board equipment across the European road network. Furthermore, up to now, member states were not able to enforce unpaid road fees by foreign drivers. Thanks to the changes made in the Directive and approved today, this will also change with the development of a strong cross-border exchange of information framework.”
S&D vice-president for sustainability, Kathleen Van Brempt, said
“Air quality in cities is a big concern for our citizens. Annually, around half a million people die prematurely in the European Union due to air pollution and thousands suffer respiratory diseases, often the most vulnerable. Cities trying to cope with this through the establishment of Clean Air Zones, where vehicles must pay access fees in relation to their pollution level, have been facing huge difficulties to charge foreign vehicles because there was no legal base for cross-border data exchange. By extending the scope of the Directive from road charging fees to fees for entering Clean Air Zones by polluting cars, this problem will be solved and the enforcement of Clean Air access regulations will be ensured.”