European Green Deal promises accelerated shift to sustainable & smart mobility

The European Commission has announced its European Green Deal in a bid to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

According to the Commission the Green Deal is, “the most ambitious package of measures that should enable European citizens and businesses to benefit from sustainable green transition.”

Included in the new legislation is the commitment to ‘accelerate the shift’ to sustainable and smart mobility, focusing on boosting multi-modal and connected mobility. EU funding instruments will support projects and services that can ‘reduce congestion and pollution’ in urban areas, and propose more stringent air pollutant emissions standards for combustion-engine vehicles.

A recent comprehensive study by the BMJ found the impact of air pollution in creating health problems may be greater than previously believed.

According to the European Green Deal ‘roadmap’, a strategy for sustainable and smart mobility will be put in place from 2020, with a revised proposal for a directive on combined transport planned for 2021. Also from 2020 will be a funding call to support the deployment of public recharging and refuelling points as part of an alternative fuel infrastructure, alongside an assessment of options to boost the production and supply of sustainable alternative fuels for different transport modes.

Railway and inland waterway capacity initiatives also got a mention, however there is no direct mention of bicycles or improving cycling measures. Perhaps cycling comes under the ‘shift to smart mobility’ or ‘sustainable transport’ part of the roadmap, but there certainly doesn’t seem to be a huge emphasis on what could be part of a relatively cheap solution to lowering emissions and air pollution levels; getting more people out of cars and onto bikes.

Saying that, a revised directive on RISM (Road Infrastructure Safety Management) by the European Commission resulted in a ‘major breakthrough’ for cyclists yesterday, which could save as many as 3,200 cyclists lives by instilling infrastructure guidelines and taking cyclists and pedestrians into account during road building processes.

Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry’s (CONEBI) GM Manuel Marsilio said of the proposal: “The European Green Deal is an important initiative to protect our planet and contribute to a sustainable future: the question is how to practically make it successful.

“Bicycles and e-Bikes should be placed at the core of that success and supported by EU and national policies that can foster sales. For example, we call on European Institutions to adopt a good proposal on VAT rates so that EU governments can eventually make a more targeted use of VAT rates, like VAT reduction on the purchase of bicycles, e-Bikes and accessories.”

Hayley Everett

Multimedia Reporter

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