Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Commissioner Bjerregaard calls for priority action against vehicle emissions

Opening the world conference on international fuel quality and vehicle technology in Brussels on 21 May 1996, Mrs. Ritt Bjerregaard, Commissioner responsible for the environment, stressed the importance of reducing vehicle emissions for air quality in the European Community.

...
Opening the world conference on international fuel quality and vehicle technology in Brussels on 21 May 1996, Mrs. Ritt Bjerregaard, Commissioner responsible for the environment, stressed the importance of reducing vehicle emissions for air quality in the European Community.

Mrs. Bjerregaard pointed to the results of a recent study by the European Environment Agency which concluded that environmental pressure from the transport sector would increase dramatically between 1990 and 2010. Road transport is the single most important source of atmospheric pollution in the Community. Opinion polls showed that while the majority of the population agree with the need to reduce road use and increase public transport spending, they do not want to lose personal freedom or mobility.

Commissioner Bjerregaard outlined the major points to be considered in outlining a Community strategy for the reduction of vehicle emissions. These are:

- The need for ambitious environmental quality objectives;
- The need to take account of the existing differences in air quality across the Community;
- The need to respect the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity;
- The principles of shared responsibility and partnership;
- Cost-effectiveness;
- The legitimate desire of some Member States to pursue more ambitious environmental policy objectives than those agreed at Community level.

The research conducted under the Auto Oil programme, which brought together the European car and petroleum industries and the Commission to study the effects on emissions of new engine technologies and reformulated fuels, has been successfully completed and will serve as a useful basis for Community action, said the Commissioner.

However, Community action alone would not be sufficient to reduce substantially air pollution in many areas. Complementary action at national and local levels would be needed. In particular, this could take the form of initiatives such as road pricing, restricted access to city centres, increased investment in public transport, and incentive schemes for scrapping old, heavily polluting vehicles.

Local and individual action would not replace action by the industry however. The Commissioner pointed to recent environmental advances in the USA, and in California in particular, as examples to be followed. In conclusion, she called on the industry to search for imaginative and ambitious responses, which are sensitive to their economic needs, but recognize the basic right of citizens to breathe clean air.
DE FR

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top