UK May Limit Local Govt. Power to Control Car Use: GMPB

Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Brief: UK government may limit local powers to control car use; Barcelona Declaration: EU Transport Ministers call for more sustainable transport ambitions; UK introduces new zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate; Euro 7: Council Adopt Position.

UK government may limit local powers to control car use. The government is reportedly set to introduce restrictions on measures that local councils can take to reduce car traffic, such as implementing 20mp/h (32km/h) speed limits and bus lanes. This potential policy shift, which was first revealed by The Guardian, may be part of the Prime Minister’s apparent plan to gain political support from motorists and may be announced at the Conservative Party’s conference in Manchester as soon as next Monday. These plans, which have not been discussed with councils, are likely to raise concerns about the centralization of powers and the perception that Sunak aims to prioritize the convenience of car drivers over those who rely on buses, bicycles, or walking for their transportation needs. Combined with other next-zero policy U-turns, these restrictions on local powers, and the prioritisation of motorists’ preferences may add to concerns that the UK government is backtracking on its climate ambitions.

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Barcelona Declaration: EU Transport Ministers call for more sustainable transport ambitions. In an informal gathering of EU Transport Ministers convened by the Spanish Presidency of the Council, a comprehensive set of ambitious objectives for the future of mobility in Europe were established. These objectives encompass EU-wide connectivity, decarbonization efforts, gender inclusivity, and the preservation of employment within the transportation sector. The EU Transport Ministers, through this declaration, agreed to several points including: establishing a comprehensive network of infrastructure, mobility and transport services that extend beyond national borders; advocating for the adoption of the revised TEN-T framework, currently under negotiations; and underlining the need for public administrations to promote an integrated transport and mobility network that ensures accessibility across all territories. The Barcelona Declaration, which emerged from this meeting, calls for collective action from all stakeholders including the private sector and members of civil society.

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UK introduces new zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate. The UK government has outlined a plan to transition to zero-emission vehicles by 2035. The goal is for 80% of new cars and 70% of new vans sold in Great Britain to be zero-emission by 2030, increasing to 100% by 2035. This mandate provides a gradual transition, with minimum annual targets, starting at 22% of new cars being zero-emission in 2024. The government’s investments have already led to progress, with 20% of new cars sold in August being zero-emission, and there is a growing infrastructure of public charge points to facilitate EV adoption. The plan seeks to offer certainty to manufacturers, encourage the growth of the second-hand EV market, and align the UK with other major economies on phasing out fossil fuel vehicles. The new ZEV mandate follows the UK’s controversial decision to delay the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 to 2035.

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Euro 7: Council Adopt Position. The Council has adopted its stance on the proposed Euro 7 regulation that covers emissions from cars, vans, and heavy-duty vehicles. This regulation aims to set more stringent emission standards and further decrease air pollutants from road transport. It also introduces limits for non-exhaust emissions and includes requirements for battery durability in electric cars. The Council proposes retaining existing test conditions and emission limits for private passenger cars and vans, while reducing emission limits for buses, coaches, and heavy commercial vehicles. It also aligns brake particle emission limits and tyre abrasion rate limits with international standards. The Council’s position enables negotiations with the European Parliament, which could begin after the Parliament adopts its position.

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