Mark’s EU Week for Transport 

Late last year UKTiE held an important stakeholder event to agree UK transport priorities for 2021 and beyond, across the modes, adjusting to the new post Brexit era. Determined, whatever the challenges, to make a success of our new UK-EU relationship for transport.

First, we’re determined to become a good partner with our EU friends and neighbours, learning from other 3rd countries, and we’ve already make good progress on that workstream.

Second, we want to highlight UK innovation and technological leadership in the run up COP26, and provide opportunities to collaborate and exchange best practice, recognising that we must rise to the challenge of tackling climate change by working with our European and global friends. We made a positive contribution in the run up to the G7, and plan to do the same in the run up to COP26, with a pre COP26 event in September.

Third, the UK remains a member of Horizon, and the European Commission’s €14.7 billion work programme for Horizon Europe for the period 2021-2022 that was published recently and represents a huge opportunity for the transport sector. As covered below, we recently held a workshop to be briefed by experts, discuss, and ask questions on’ What Horizon Europe Can Do for You: Funding Transport Innovators in the UK, Europe and the World.’ We plan a follow up event in October.

Fourth, we are making progress developing our vision for transport, and contributing to policy developments in the UK, Europe and globally.  And next week, as previously mentioned, the European Commission will publish their massive ‘Fit for 55 Package’, which will shape transport and environment policy for the coming decade and beyond, in Europe and the world. Watch our for our Special News & Views and WattsUp!

Finally, we’re planning our end of year Forum, to bring these work streams together, review the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, and revise our priorities, asks and workstreams accordingly. We’ve made a cracking start and look forward to more success in the future. But we can make more progress if we move forward together. Hope you can join us! 

1. UKTIE hosted a successful workshop on Horizon Europe Opportunities for transport innovators 
UKTiE hosted a successful workshop on Horizon Europe Opportunities for Transport Innovators on Friday 2 July. It was attended by almost 50 participants from the UK, Europe and beyond, representing Governments, Devolved Administrations, European associations and networks, Cities and Regions, Universities, research organisations, regulators, companies, researchers, and citizens.

The keynote speakers were Louise Mothersole, Horizon Europe UK National Contact Point Mobility (InnovateUK) and Professor Clive Roberts FIRSE FIET, Director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research, University of Birmingham, and Education Lead for the UK Railway Research and Innovation Network.

The presentation from Louise is here.

The presentation from Clive is here.

It was moderated by Mark Watts FCILT, FRSA, CEO of UKTiE.

Other speakers included Simon Argyle, Deputy Director UK Mission to the EU & Counsellor, Competitiveness, Connectivity and Innovation, and Kate Jennings, Director of Policy at Railway Industry Association (RIA).

The next workshop will be held on Friday 15 October and will focus on identifying opportunities to collaborate.

2. Start of Slovenian Presidency
Last week saw the end of the Portuguese Presidency (January-June 2021) and the start of the new Slovenian Presidency (July-December 2021). According to the Slovenian Presidency’s Programme, ”The transport sector is a significant source of green-house gas emissions.  For this reason, the Slovenian Presidency will prioritise devoting attention to sustainable and smart mobility, focusing on the adaptation of the TEN-T network and the development and widespread use of alternative fuels.”

The programme additionally highlights that ”Slovenia primarily sees the need to promote e-mobility  with energy from low-emission sources also by providing sufficient charging infrastructure and accessible vehicles. The Slovenian Presidency will therefore strive for progress in negotiations on the revision of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID) and new proposals in the field of aviation (Refuel Aviation) and maritime activities  (Refuel  Maritime).

3. Leaks of FuelEU Maritime and Energy Taxation Directive 
Ahead of next week’s ‘publication of the ‘Fit for 55’ Package, a series of legislative proposals that form the crux of the European Green Deal including several transport initiatives, a few leaks of the texts have been emerging which provide a window into the European Commission’s thinking.

Firstly, the Guardian reported on a leak of the FuelEU Maritime initiative, which is expected to outline a framework to further incentivise the pickup of alternative fuels in the maritime sector and a pathway to cut emissions in the sector. According to the Guardian, the leaked document states that the Commission will take a flexible rather than prescriptive approach, seeking to provide flexibility in the face of stakeholder demand and in the face of technological developments. The Commission’s aim is for renewable and low-carbon fuels representing between 6% and 9% of the international maritime transport fuel mix in 2030 and 86% and 88% by 2050.

Euractiv have also reported on a leak of the Energy Taxation Directive, which will have implications on the pricing of fuels and will therefore impact the transport sector, notably the aviation sector according to the leak. According to the leak, the Commission intends to propose plans to set an EU-wide minimum tax rate for polluting aviation fuels, which are currently exempt from EU fuel taxes. From 2023, the minimum tax rate for aviation fuel would start at zero and increase gradually over a 10-year period, until the full rate is imposed. Sustainable fuels, including renewable hydrogen and advanced biofuels, would not face minimum EU taxes during that 10-year period. The draft proposal would also introduce minimum tax rates on polluting fuels used for waterborne navigation, fishing and freight transport within the EU.

4. UKTiE has also put together the latest timetable of key transport and supply chain developments in Europe. We will keep this up to date as the process develops:

  • 12-14 July 2021:  Next TRAN Committee meetings.
  • 12 & 14 July 2021:  Next ENVI Committee meetings.
  • 5-8 July 2021: European Parliament Plenary session – agenda.
  • 14 July 2021:  Fit for 55 Package published.
  • 24 September 2021: UKTiE pre-COP26 event.
  • 15 October 2021: Next UKiE Horizon workshop.
  • 1-12 November 2021:  COP 26.
Mark Watts
UK Transport in Europe (UKTiE)
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