In an attempt to set aside a protracted controversy surrounding the environmental damage caused by biofuels, the European Commission came under heavy criticism after proposing to phase-out conventional biofuels by 2030. The Executive presented its draft proposal to review the Renewable Energy Directive for the post-2020 period as part of a Clean Energy Package.  The European Commission has alluded to the fact that its revised Renewable Energy Directive will scrap reference to “at least 10%” renewable energy in the transport sector.

A European Environment Agency (EEA) report has been published that contains examples of the different transitions needed in terms of technology, urban planning and societal behaviour to make transport more sustainable. The EEA report ‘TERM 2016: Transitions towards a more sustainable mobility system assesses the progress that Member States are making to improve the environmental performance of transport in line with related EU policy targets.

Congestion charges and CO2 taxation of cars are the most effective instruments in steering households towards sustainable consumption, a Swedish study has found.

The European Commission started a consultation on whether the EU needs to do more on the environmental impact of shipping. The consultation is open until 22 April.

A consultation on the 2009 EU Maritime Strategy opened this week, as part of a mid-term review. It asks whether the strategy should place greater importance on shipping’s environmental performance. The Commission inquiry also aims to find out whether respondents “see a strong trade-off between the environmental performance and the competitiveness of the EU maritime transport sector”.

Under draft legislation approved by the Environment Committee the CO2 emission limit for new light commercial vehicles sold in the EU is to be reduced from the current 203 g/km to 175 g/km after 2017 and 147 g/km by 2020. The text, already informally agreed with EU ministers, also paves the way for achieving further reductions after 2020, and provides for the introduction of a new test protocol.

A consultation has been launched by the European Commission that looks at freight train operators having to pay more for the use of older noisy rolling stock. DG MOVE, the Commission’s transport department is though hesitant in using this approach through fear of shifting freight from rail back to the road. Railway noise is emerging as a major political issue that will become even more important with the predicted increase in rail traffic.