A directive approved by Parliament on Tuesday will make it possible for Member States to charge hauliers for air and noise pollution costs. Revenue from these charges will be used to improve the performance of transport systems and cut pollution.
Belgian politician Said El Khadraoui said the legislation would be ground-breaking: “it offers for the first time the possibility to Member States to charge external costs (…) and to make best use of a wide range of toll variations to improve mobility.”
The directive will cover not only trans-European transport networks, but all motorways, and will apply to vehicles of over 3.5 tonnes. 3 to 4 euro cents per vehicle/km may be added to charges for using transport infrastructure to cover the external costs of road haulage, starting with air and noise pollution.
Member States will be required to commit themselves to invest 15% of overall revenue in European networks.
Lorries with the least-polluting engines will be exempt from air pollution charges until 1 January 2014 (EURO V emission class), and until 1 January 2018 for EURO VI.
The new Eurovignette rules, approved with 505 votes in favour, 141 against and 17 abstentions, still need to be formally approved by EU Member States.