Working group: Extensive range of measures for the reduction of transport-related emissions
In its interim report published on 29 August 2017, the parliamentary working group tasked with assessing funding of the transport network proposed a range of measures for reducing transport-related emissions; these include the subsidising of low-emission transport, the implementation of reforms to taxation and regulation as well as the improvement of the preconditions for public transport and promoting the servicification of transport.
"The proposed measures will be a step in the right direction to reducing transport-related emissions. The set objectives are very ambitious, and in order to achieve them, we will need versatile measures and genuine commitment. An effort has been made to target the measures for reducing emissions equally, so that their impact on businesses, different regions and commuters are reasonable," says chairman of the working group, Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner.
The objectives set by the EU for cuts to emissions as well as the National Energy and Climate Strategy dictate that transport-related emissions must be cut to half of what they were in 2005 by 2030. The working group's interim report takes a stand on the measures necessary for a reduction in transport-related emissions within the scope of the National Energy and Climate Strategy.
"I want to thank the members of the working group for their close cooperation in our effort to achieve this common goal. I hope that we can continue in the same spirit in resolving issues related to the funding and maintenance of the transport network," Minister Berner said.
Of the measures proposed by the working group, subsidies are the fastest to implement and these will be discussed already during the Government's budget discussions. The working group has made a proposal on how the 16 million euros in funding promised by the Government should be allocated to promote low-emission transport. The funding for these measures is part of the 25 million euros reserved in the public budget for the period running from 2018 to 2021 intended for the promotion of the National Energy and Climate Strategy. The working group proposes that in the future more funding than currently should be allocated to these measures.
Of the working group's members, the Green League's party members submitted a supplementary statement on the interim report. The Finns Party submitted a dissenting opinion on the interim report.
Meeting objectives by subsidising low-emission vehicles
The working group proposes that the share of biofuels be increased to 30 per cent in accordance with previous decisions. An effort will be made to increase the number of low-emission vehicles by subsidising the purchase of fully electric cars from 2018 to 2021, as well as by converting gas and flexfuel cars with a sum of 6 million euros per year.
A sum of 4 million euros per year will be allocated to subsidise the construction of a charging and distribution network as well as the electrification of urban logistics equally in all regions. Additionally, the working group wants to examine the possibility of changing the company car base to consist of low-emission vehicles. Details on the subsidies system will be specified during the last part of 2017.
From 2018 to 2021, a sum of 4 million euros per year will be allocated to the development of public passenger transport in city areas. The subsidies will be steered in particular to the digitalisation of the public transport system as well as the electrification of public transport. Additionally, an increase to contractual and obligatory rail transport will be subsidised with a sum of 2 million euros per year.
The working group proposes that taxation be used to promote the purchase of low emission cars. The working group wants to find out whether emissions steering related to the vehicle tax can be made more effective and whether the right to tax deductions related to work commute costs could be linked to emissions. The proposals concerning taxation and legislation will be finalised for the working group's final report, which will be completed in early 2018.
The working group proposes the development of national regulation by for example reforming legislation than applies to the procurement of vehicles by the public sector and by improving the energy efficiency of heavy transport vehicles. In addition, the introduction of congestion charges based on emissions should be examined.
The working group states that in order to achieve the emission cut objectives, the range of measures should also include the realisation of a programme to promote walking and cycling, influencing EU legislation, the coordination of land-use and transport systems from the perspective of the climate as well as various effective methods of communication.
In February 2017, the Ministry of Transport and Communications set up a parliamentary working group tasked with determining the measures required for the maintenance and development of the transport network. As part of its work on measures to reduce emissions, the working group issued a call for written statements and received a total of 40 statements.
Additionally, the working group utilised reports drawn up e.g. in connection with the National Energy and Climate Strategy and medium-term climate policy. Reports and impact assessments will be supplemented over the autumn and beginning of 2018, and they will be revisited in the final report.
After considering transport-related emissions cuts, the working group will begin to work on measures needed to reduce the transport maintenance backlog, to ensure sufficient development investments as well as to realise the servicification and digitalisation of transport. The working group’s mandate will end on 28 February 2018.
Inquiries: Mr Mikael Nyberg, Director-General, secretary general of the working group, tel. +358 40 837 8794