EU road charge reforms to be implemented

EU road charge reforms
© iStock/Milos-Muller

Under draft EU road charge reforms adopted on Thursday, the way large vehicles are charged for their journeys will change from 2023.

EU Member States which currently impose time-based road charges will have to switch to distance-based charges for trucks and buses by 2023; and vans from the end of 2027. The new EU road charge reforms are aimed at helping to meet EU emission reduction targets and will cover trans-European network roads.

The move to distance-based rather than time-based charges for vehicles should mean charges are more closely linked to actual road use, and by extension, pollution generation. Where current rules allow exemptions for buses, coaches and heavy duty vehicles under 2.4 tonnes, these will all be included after the implementation of the EU road charge reforms; although to encourage the use of environmentally friendly vehicles, countries will be able to set different rates based on carbon dioxide emissions.

Member States will be allowed to implement discounts to road charges, for example for frequent users of light vehicles in sparsely populated areas. To ensure fair treatment of occasional users and drivers from other Member States, short term “vignettes” or passes will be made available.The EU road charge reforms recommend vignette stickers be made available for single days and weeks to accommodate visitors and tourists.

Rapporteur Christine Revault d’Allonnes Bonnefoy, overseeing the EU road charge reforms, said: “Today the European Parliament adopted an ambitious report to achieve the objective of the White Paper on European Transport to move towards the full application of ‘user pays’ and ‘polluter pays’ principles on the European road transport network. This proposal is a turning point for the European transport policy to better tackle CO2 emissions and air pollution from the road transport sector.”

In accordance with the Paris Agreement, the EU has set a number of strict targets to reduce carbon emissions and slow the rate of global warming over the next 20 years. The European Parliament has called for a 55 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.

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