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Cities will be able to properly enforce their air quality policies at EU level, say S&Ds


Climate & Environment
More and more cities in Europe are trying to impose restrictions on highly contaminating vehicles. However, it is difficult to enforce these measures as long as these vehicles continue to cross through cities without any restriction.
Today the Socialists and Democrats in the transport committee voted in favour of extending the European exchange of information framework to cities who have put in place Clean Air Zones.
This is part of a legislative proposal to improve the interoperability between different national electronic road toll systems and to facilitate the exchange of information on those drivers who fail to pay the road fee in another European country.
S&D spokesperson on this file, Olga Sehnalová MEP, said:
"The revised proposal for a directive should finally bring the deployment of the European electronic toll service (EETS), which will allow drivers to use only one on-board equipment for paying road fees across the entire EU. Until now, member states have not been able to enforce unpaid road fees by foreign drivers. This will change now, since the revised Directive establishes a mechanism that will enable it.
“The report also includes a key objective of our group - that if someone won’t pay road fees in urban areas, local authorities will be able to exchange the necessary information to enforce the payment."
S&D vice-president for sustainability, Kathleen Van Brempt, said
“Air quality in cities is a big concern for our citizens. Annually, around half a million people die prematurely in the European Union due to air pollution* and thousands suffer respiratory diseases, often the most vulnerable. Cities trying to cope with this through the establishment of Clean Air Zones, where only clean vehicles get access, have been facing huge difficulties to penalise non-compliant foreign vehicles because there was no legal base for cross-border data exchange. By extending the scope of the directive from road charging fees to fines for entering Clean Air Zones by polluting cars, this problem will be solved and the enforcement of Clean Air access regulations will be ensured." 
* Latest data are from 2014, when air pollution caused 502.351 premature deaths in the EU-28. Source: EEA Report No 13/2017 “Air quality in Europe”, p.57-58