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Thanks to S&Ds, European Parliament approves ambitious emission cuts from trucks and industry to make Green Deal a reality


12 Mar 2024


Climate & Environment

Today, a progressive majority – led by the S&Ds – has successfully steered the European Parliament to approve two key pieces of legislation aimed at slashing harmful emissions from trucks and industry: respectively the revised Weights and Dimensions of Trucks Directive to align freight transport with the Green Deal, and the revised Industrial Emissions Directive. 

Reducing pollution from the industry and transport sectors to protect the environment and public health is a key aspect of the Green Deal, which the S&D Group put at the heart of the Commission’s programme at the beginning of this legislature and is now delivering on. 

The revised rules for the maximum weights and dimensions for trucks provide a strong incentive for increasing zero-emission road transport, together with enhanced multimodal operations involving rail and ship, which will pave the way for more sustainable freight transport in the EU. (1)

Isabel García Muñoz, European Parliament’s rapporteur on the Weights and Dimensions of trucks, said: 

“Zero-emission vehicles have to become the backbone of road transport if the sector is to reach its decarbonisation objectives. The new rules will create real incentives for companies to switch to zero-emission trucks and to make road freight transport more sustainable and safe. By transporting the same load with fewer vehicles and fewer trips, we can achieve significant emissions reductions. We also successfully pushed for more robust rules for the use of mega trucks with a prior assessment on their impact on road safety, infrastructure, modal cooperation and the environment.” 

Also agreed today are the revised rules on the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), which will prevent and reduce toxic emissions into air, water and soil from a wide array of industrial sources. (2) 

Mohammed Chahim, S&D negotiator on the revision of the Industrial Emissions Directive, said:

“Industrial emissions pose a threat to the environment and our health. Stricter emission limits across a broad spectrum of heavy-polluting industries will prevent many premature deaths caused by asthma, bronchitis and cancer. The approved Industrial Emissions Directive will also encompass, for the first time, not only heavy polluters like metals, cement, glass and chemical producers but also include large battery factories, mining activities and more pig and poultry farms than before. This revision allows the industry sufficient time to innovate – reducing harmful emissions and improving resource use, all while ensuring a level playing field. A win-win for people, the planet and EU industry!”  

Notes to editors: 

(1)    As trucks and buses are responsible for 28% of road transport’s greenhouse gas emissions, it is of key concern to improve energy-efficiency in road freight operations and reduce these emissions. 96.3% of all trucks in the Union still run on diesel. As zero-emission technology requires more weight or volume than internal combustion engines, the current rules on weights and dimensions put zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles at a disadvantage vis-à-vis diesel trucks, and additional incentives are therefore required to level the playing field. Under S&D leadership, the revised directive will update rules on weights and dimensions to encourage zero-emission trucks; support moving goods through intermodal transport combining road, rail and shipping; and by 2035, all 44-tonne trucks involved in cross-border operations will have to be zero-emission. 

(2)    The IED covers many types of heavily polluting industries such as: large combustion plants, refineries, waste treatment and incineration, pig and poultry farms as well as metals, cement, glass and chemicals producers. In the negotiations, the S&D Group managed to extend its scope to large battery factories, mining activities and more pig and poultry farms than currently, while contributing to the establishment of stricter, yet achievable, emission limits of environmentally-harmful and toxic pollutants. The S&Ds have also secured that, from 2030, companies will have to put forward comprehensive transformation plans highlighting how they will contribute to the emergence of a sustainable, circular and climate-neutral economy by 2050.