Europe has agreed in principle to slap a new pollution and noise tax on heavy goods vehicles, in spite of opposition from road hauliers. A qualified majority of the EU’s 27 transport ministers decided to make polluters pay their way on European Union motorways. The deal means reviewing the existing Eurovignette Directive.
Austria and France get a lot of transit traffic and so strongly backed the polluter pays tax. More peripheral countries, such as Italy and Spain opposed it. The International Road Transport Union also objected, saying: “Making road transport more expensive will punish Europe’s economy.”
Member states will be free to decide whether or not to adopt the new tax to maintain and replace infrastructure. The revised directive proposal adds air and noise pollution costs in the calculation of the tolls. Levies currently amount to an average 15-25 euro cents per kilometre. These could increase by 3-4 cents, and by far more at peak times, to try to reduce heavy traffic flows.