Transport & Environment reiterates its opposition to ecocombi's
While European Transport Commissioner Siim Kallasis expected to announce a proposal in this direction this week, environmental association Transport & Environment has repeated its opposition to any form of cross-border operation of ecocombi’s ('megatrucks' in its words).
The arguments set out by T&E are threefold : more generalised operation of ecocombi’s would have a negative impact on road safety (particularly in the case of a collision), it would generate a ‘rebound’ effect which would increase demand for road transport, and because of this ecocombi’s would signal the end of the hopes of breathing new life into rail transport.
Could the safety question be answered by allowing 25.25 metre units without necessarily increasing the load to 60 tonnes ? Jos Dings, director of T&E, replied in the affirmative to our question. On top of this, the application of a separate taxation level (in Germany for example) would enable the competitive advantage of road to be reduced and would at the same time decrease the opposition of T&E to the projects of Siim Kallas. "The problem is that the commission is set to propose allowing the international operation of ecocombi’s without any balancing measures of this type", Dings went on to tell us.
There remains the thorny question of the rebound effect, which would increase the demand for road transport due to ecocombi’s being more efficient. “According to us, 2 ecocombi’s would not replace 3, but only 2.26. This nullifies the energy advantages which are advanced by those in favour of megatrucks", Dings continued. And the arguments according to which the use of ecocombi’s is currently limited do not impress him any more: “There are only 800 megatrucks in the Netherlands because they can only be used nationally. If they could be used internationally, that would increase their potential, and would lead to ever higher pressure on those countries which do not authorise megatrucks, with the prospect of a snowball effect."
| 21/03/2012 | Claude Yvens