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Parlamento Europeo - 18 settembre 1992
Impact of transport on the environment


Resolution on the Green Paper on the impact of transport on the environment: a Community strategy for 'sustainable mobility'

The European Parliament,

-having regard to the Green Paper on the Impact of Transport on the Environment: a Community strategy for 'sustainable mobility' (COM(92)0046),

-having been consulted by the Commission (C3-0182/92),

-having regard to its resolutions of 11 September 1991OJ No. C 267, 14.10.1991, p. 103 on transport and the environment, of 12 September 1991OJ No. C 267, 14.10.1991, p. 156 on the urban environment, and of 12 June 1992Minutes of that Sitting, Part II, Item 11 on congestion and urban transport,

-having regard to the Maastricht decisions of 10 December 1991, with particular reference to Article 75 on transport policy, Title XII, Articles 129b to 129d on trans-European networks, Article 130d on the Cohesion Fund and Articles 130r to 130t on the environment and health,

-having regard to the Delors II proposals (COM(92)2000-2001) and its resolution of 10 June 1992Minutes of that Sitting, Part II, Item 2 on 'from the Single Act to Maastricht and beyond - the means to match our ambitions',

-having regard to the memorandum by the Netherlands Government of June 1990 on 'Europe and transport',

-having regard to the House of Lords publication on 'Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Legislation',

-having regard to the regional development concept (COM(91)0452) on Europe 2000 - Outlook for the development of the Community's territory,

-having regard to the report by the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection (A3-0256/92),

A.whereas, in its above-mentioned resolution of 11 September 1991, it called for a coherent plan for transport and the environment,

B.whereas the transport sector plays a very important and substantial role in the economy,

C.whereas the increase in transport is directly linked to economic growth which, partly as a result of the internal market, is characterized by constantly rising consumption, production and individual mobility,

D.whereas the Commission's fifth action programme for a sustainable environment policy in industry, tourism, transport, agriculture and energy (COM(92)0023) forms a coherent whole and whereas the Green Paper can be viewed as part of it,

E.whereas both the above-mentioned resolution of 11 September 1991 and the Green Paper make it clear that there is a tension between greater mobility and the achievement of sustainable development,

F.whereas both the Commission - as witness its intention to use the Green Paper as the basis for discussion in preparation for the White PaperCOM(92)0046, paragraph 129 - and Parliament believe that transport should be part of a general policy aimed at sustainable development,

G.whereas the concept of 'sustainable mobility' is not defined precisely in the Green Paper; whereas the four aspects listed in the Green Paper: 'pollution caused by the use of means of transport', 'land use and intrusion', 'congestion' and 'risks inherent to the transport of dangerous goods' offer a useful starting point; whereas, however, short and long-term measures and initiatives, together with a list of priorities should be specified,

H.whereas the Commission has published a strategy for regional policy in the year 2000 which contains important elements for curbing the increase in the volume of transport and for improving transport flows,

I.whereas in the context of the Community's regional policy, the Community's Structural Funds provide financial assistance towards the improvement of transport infrastructure in the less developed regions of the Community,

J.whereas, in its opinion of 14 February 1992OJ No. C 67, 16.03.1992, p. 237, Parliament stated that, in respect of the Community action plan for tourism, tourism policy has a major impact on sustainable transport policy,

K.whereas the increase in traffic has occurred mainly in road and air transport; whereas the Member States and the Community have not yet taken adequate measures to encourage forms of transport which do less harm to the environment such as the railways, shipping and intermodal transport; whereas this inequality in the conditions of competition is an infringement of EC objectives with regard to complete liberalization and free competition,

L.whereas the conditions surrounding the most environmentally friendly form of transport, the bicycle, are not improving but - as regards taking bicycles across borders by rail - steadily worsening,

M.whereas initiatives have been taken within the Community's current taxation policy, such as harmonization of duties on mineral oil, the charging of infrastructure costs to freight vehicles and the levying of a CO2 tax, but whereas there is no consistent taxation policy on transport,

N.whereas CO2 emissions from transport already account for one quarter of total Community CO2 emissions; whereas this is an upward trend and whereas transport is making an increasing contribution towards the greenhouse effect Hearing of the German Bundestag's committee of inquiry into 'preventive measures to protect the earth's atmosphere', 26 and 27 June 1989; whereas cars account for 70% of CO2 emissions in road traffic,

O.whereas the impact of the use of private motor cars on the quality of life of the inhabitants of rural areas has been largely positive, particularly through expanding the range of available employment and educational opportunities and by making the range of social and cultural activity, which urban dwellers take for granted, accessible to rural dwellers also,

P.whereas, in the wake of Maastricht, infrastructure policy will be of increasing importance, and whereas this policy must make the objectives of economic and social cohesion compatible with the objectives of environmental policy,

Q.whereas the effects on health, particularly of groups at risk, of the emission of harmful substances is generally underestimated,

R.whereas considerable research must still be undertaken into the actual harmful effects of transport on the environment,

S.whereas more and more people are coming to regard noise from traffic as an increasing nuisanceBundestag publication 11/2714,

T.whereas the Community's aim should be to balance protection of the environment with helping to meet the growing demands of transport,


1.Welcomes the fact that the Commission has published this Green Paper and that it discusses a number of matters which Parliament brought to the fore in its above-mentioned resolution of 11 September 1991 and points out that it stands fully by the demands expressed therein;

2.Calls on the Commission to use the Green Paper as a blueprint for the forthcoming White Paper, in line with the Commission's stated intention in the Green Paper;

3.Calls on the Commission to respond in the White Paper to those wishes of the European Parliament which are not reflected in the Green Paper;

4.Calls on the Commission to define and elaborate on the concept of 'sustainable mobility' as rapidly as possible and to produce a plan including clear environmental objectives and the relevant timescales, the environmental criteria and the infrastructure improvements which the transport sector must satisfy in order to achieve sustainable mobility;

5.Calls on the national and local authorities of each Member State to encourage greater planning and policy coordination in order to minimize harm to the environment;

6.Calls on the Commission to encourage fair competition and freedom of choice between the different modes of transport;

7.Calls, therefore, on the Commission to establish priorities for achieving sustainable mobility on the basis of the following instruments;


8.Calls on the Commission and the Council to submit a coherent package of taxation measures for the transport sectorSee UPI, Heidelberg, 'Unweltauswirkungen von Finanzinstrumenten im Verkehrsbereich'; J. Whitelegg, Institute of British Geographers, Sheffield Conference, January 1991, with a view to eliminating by the year 2000 differences in condition of competition between the various types of transport and to reduce pollution of the environment caused by transport;

9.Calls on the Commission:

-to apply the principle of 'the user/polluter pays' for all modes of transport, thereby internalizing external costs,

-to use variable rates of tax as its starting point,

-to continue to offer Member States the possibility of adding environmental supplements to excise duties;

10.Calls on the Commission to use part of the revenue from taxation to create a fund to encourage environmentally-friendly and energy-saving transport;

11.Calls on the Commission to submit proposals for integrated management in order to take account of the external costs of production and processing (recycling/disposal) of vehicles without, however, transferring all the burden of the past onto transport;

12.Points out that there is a need to tighten the current CO2 objectivesOECD session devoted to CO2, 1989: 'Drastic measures are needed to achieve and protect an ecological balance' to achieve a 40% reduction by the year 2010 in order to permit sustainable development, and calls on the Commission to introduce the planned CO2 tax as soon as possible to create the optimum effect for achieving sustainable development;

13.Calls on the Commission to ensure that these measures involve as few formalities as possible for transport enterprises, shippers and users and take into account in particular the rights and needs of rural dwellers;

14.Believes that this CO2 tax is necessary as a sign of intent and as a negotiating basis for dialogue with the other industrialized countries on introducing a similar measure at world level, taking particular account of replaceable energy sources;

15.Calls on the Commission:

-to base the harmonization level for mineral oil duty on the concept of internalizing external costs,

-to levy a tax on kerosene See 'Cleaner engines taking off', Enviro No. 12, November 1991 and Parliament's above-mentioned resolution of 11 September 1991 only when agreement has been reached at world level so that the Community's carriers are not at a competitive disadvantage,

-to examine whether airlines bear the full cost of their use of infrastructures such as air-traffic control and airports,

-to use the principle of territoriality as the basis for road costs in such a way that it causes no additional obstacles to freedom of movement and competition,

-to carry out, in cooperation with the Member States, an exhaustive study of the external costs arising from road transport of persons and goods (including pollution, the greenhouse effect, noise, road accidents, traffic congestion, road construction and maintenance, etc.);

INFRASTRUCTURE POLICYSee its resolution of 11 September 1991

16.Calls on the Commission to extend the directive on environmental impact assessment so that, before new Community infrastructure is created, a study is carried out into the possibility of full intermodal utilization of capacities of existing infrastructure;

17.Calls on the Commission to ensure, if a new Community project is needed, that:

-as regards the further development of transport infrastructures, priority is given to environmentally-friendly forms of transport, taking account of the physical geography of the territory concerned, and the construction of ecologically more favourable chains of transport,

-the environmental impact assessment is carried out in such a way that it

.comprises the entire project, even if the latter crosses national frontiers,

.also comprises a study of the volume of traffic likely to be generatedUlricher A. 'Inwieweit induzieren Strassenprojekte zusätzlichen Verkehr?', University of Karlsruhe, November 1990,

.discusses possible obstacles to existing infrastructure for environmentally-friendly modes of transport;

18.Calls on the Commission, in the light of the need to improve the effectiveness of environmental impact assessments to impose more stringent penalties for failure to respect them, for example by lowering or completely withholding EC contributions to the project in question;

19.Calls on the Commission to ensure that existing infrastructure which presents unacceptable environmental problems is brought in line with the state of the art;

20.Believes that 'conversion' under specific circumstances may be a good means of creating an environmentally responsible infrastructure policy, possible approaches being:

-conversion of infrastructure, to make it suitable in addition for a different mode of transport to avoid any further encroachment on space available,

-environmental conversion, whereby the new mode of transport is more environmentally-friendly than the old one, for example converting roads to railways,

-that whenever conversion proposals are submitted details of the costs are included to ensure that these do not become excessive;

21.Believes that infrastructure which is (in part) privately funded must be subject to the same democratic decision-making processes and environmental requirements as publicly financed projects;

22.Considers that research must be undertaken, coordinated by the European Commission, into the feasibility of energy-saving underground transport;


23.Calls on the Commission, in the light of research into mobility needs and behaviour, to submit proposals for a strategy to stimulate environmentally more friendly modes of transport (railways, public transport, electric vehicles and bicycles),

24.Stresses the need to develop rapidly the network of high-speed train links in order to create a satisfactory alternative to air links over shorter distances;

25.Believes that in the first instance a start should be made on developing alternatives for

-leisure and commuter traffic,

-traffic over short distances and

-the under-utilization of passenger space in cars

because these forms of transport account for a large percentage of total transport and, moreover, lend themselves most readily to public, non-motorized transport;

26.Calls on the Commission and on railways in the Community to take the necessary steps to create conditions on European railways (fares and reductions) to facilitate the carrying of bicycles on both international and national routes;

27.Calls on the Commission, when developing a strategy for goods transport, to differentiate between product types and sectors, and to explore opportunities for

-reducing the volume of transport by means of a more efficient regional organization of production and consumption,

-transport by rail, inland waterway, coastal shipping or combined transport of bulk goods, semi-finished goods and final products, in particular for non-perishable goods,

-pipeline transport for certain liquid substances or substances which can easily be made liquid;

28.Calls on the Commission, inter alia in the framework of the networks, to pay particular attention to the creation of interchanges for the transfer of goods and other facilities, for example, transport interchanges outside major urban areas, which encourage the use of environmentally-friendly modes of transport;

29.Calls on the Commission to encourage the development of new technologies geared towards

-clean and economic engines,

-cleaner fuels,

-greater use of transport capacity;

30.Calls on the Commission to evaluate the relevant environmental impact of the various transport modes to decide what role each can best play in the carriage of intra-Community trade;

31.Calls on the Commission as part of 'sustainable mobility' to consider the environmental consequences of producing energy for electric vehicles and the problems of disposing of batteries and the energy and land required to produce biofuels;


32.Calls on the Commission to take action in the near future as a means of drastically reducing the noise nuisance caused by cars, aircraft and trainsSee OECD 'Fighting noise', 1986, and Parliament's resolution of 11 September 1991 through:

-criteria for the manufacture of low-noise vehicles,

-criteria for restrictions on noise emissions,

-criteria for the likely noise nuisance of new infrastructure,

-restrictive measures to be taken where noise nuisance is excessive,

-introducing European standards on permissible noise emissions in the vicinity of airports for both day and night flights and harmonizing rules on noise emissions in relation to jet aircraft;

-proposing that stringent measures be taken against those who remove motorcycle silencers or persist in using defective silencers;


33.Points out that damage to the environment increases disproportionately with speed and therefore believes that speed restriction measures must be taken as soon as possibleSee its resolution of 11 September 1991 , in accordance with its resolutions on this matterOJ No. C 68, 24.3.1986, p. 35, OJ No. C 260, 15.10.1990, p. 224 and OJ No. C 19, 28.1.1991, p. 241;


34.Calls on the Commission, reiterating the request made in its opinion of 17 January 1992OJ No. C 39, 17.2.1992, p. 137, to propose for the Community measures analogous to the eco-scheme agreed on in the transit agreement between the Community and Austria and which will have the same effect;


35.Calls on the Commission to set up in the coming years an information campaign about the harmful effects on the environment and health of the most pollutant modes of transport, and to encourage environment-friendly forms of transport such as bicycles and public transport;

36.Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the Member States.

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