UK TRANSPORT AND BREXIT NEWS & VIEWS NO. 155

Mark’s EU Week for Transport 
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WattsUp!

16 days to go until the historically important transport day at COP26, and still a huge amount to do in terms of policy, commitments, and financing to help decarbonise the transport sector. The only sector where emissions have gone up, not down since 1990.

The programme for Transport Day is now out (see link below) and there are key meetings to accelerate the transition to 100% zero emissions vehicle and galvanise action to decarbonise the harder to abate forms of transport: aviation and shipping. We’ll continue our work to go encourage COP26 to build on the success of the UK led G7 Leaders’ communiqué, which embraced an ambitious, strategic holistic approach to transport decrabonisation. We need to redirect policy and funding towards the rapid development of zero-emission vehicles, including cars, buses, trucks, trains, taxis, ships and aircraft. Accelerating the roll out of new charging and fueling infrastructure and enhancing the offer of more sustainable transport modes, including public transport, shared mobility, cycling and walking, are also essential.

LP Brussels in partnership with UKTiE will, in the run up to COP, be launching the European Green Deal Show, a new and exciting on-line interactive concept in the climate and transport policy space. I’ll be teaming up with my colleague Ryan Hunter, and special guests to discuss the big stories dominating the climate and transport policy agenda in Brussels, Europe and the world. But just like our approach to COP, the show will continue fortnightly. Because COP26 is a stop on our journey, not a destination.

Meanwhile, as revealed by the European Commission’s new Work Programme (see link below) the European policy making process continues at breakneck speed in many other areas of transport policy, including measures to boost the single market, promote safety and strengthen passenger rights.

And last but not least, Brexit. The negotiations over the Northern Ireland Protocol seem to be casting a dark cloud over EU-UK relations generally and delaying the sign-off for UK participation in vital programmes such as Horizon Europe. So our work to engage positively with our EU and European partners is more important than ever. We’re working on our plans for 2022, and in particular how to make a success of our new relationship, which will include an early meeting with members of the recently appointed European Parliament delegation to the EU-UK Parliamentary Assembly. Let us know what you think and above all do join UKTiE. 
 
1. Fit for 55 in the context of need for increased global action
As the Fit for 55 legislative package begins being scrutinised in the European Parliament and the Council, there is some concern over the timeline for some of the more controversial files such as the Renewable Energy Directive, FuelEU Maritime or even the Energy Taxation Directive, as an argument over Committee competences in the European Parliament has delayed the start of work on many of the Fit for 55 files. Beyond this, arguments on the Taxonomy Delegated Act and debate over the inclusion of gas and nuclear as being ‘sustainable’ threaten to dominate discussions in the Council and take precious bandwidth away from Fit for 55 deliberations.

With global attention turning towards COP26 and a need for all countries to increase their climate commitments, there is not much time to waste for the EU to set up ambitious policies to match the lofty objectives of the European Green Deal. 

2. COP26 and transport
As mentioned above, the agenda for the Transport Day at COP has been published and can be found here. The programme includes green shipping, zero emissions vehicles, international aviation and road freight. Although many will have hoped for a more holistic day on transport covering several more modes, this should not take away from the important role that the transport sector will have at COP26.

3. European Commission Work Programme 2022
The European Commission has published its Work Programme for 2022 which lists out the many initiatives that it has in the pipeline for the coming year. Among the initiatives listed, the ones of interest to the transport sector are:

  • EU framework for harmonised measurement of transport and logistics emissions (Q4 2022).
  • Review of the CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles (Q4 2022).
  • Revision of EU ambient air quality legislation (Q3 2022).
  • Obligation of carriers to communicate advance passenger information (Q2 2022).

3. EU-UK Parliamentary Delegation created
The European Parliament has voted in favour of setting up the European Parliament’s new standing delegation to the EU-UK Parliamentary Assembly. Following a proposal by the Conference of Presidents (EP president and chairs of political groups), plenary set up the new standing delegation and the number of MEPs that will sit on it.

The EU-UK Parliamentary Assembly will include 35 members each from the European Parliament and the UK parliament (70 in total). It was set up following the entry into force of the new EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement struck between the European Commission and the UK government in December last year.

Once established, it will be informed of the EU-UK Partnership Council’s decisions and make recommendations to it. The Partnership Council is co-chaired by European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič and UK Minister of State for EU Relations, David Frost.

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:

  • 27 October 2021: Next TRAN Committee.
  • 27 October 2021: Next ENVI Committee.
  • 1-12 November 2021:  COP 26 (Transport Day 10 November).
Mark Watts
UK Transport in Europe (UKTiE)
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