Energy, Environment and Resources

Environmental issues continue to occupy a high ­profile on the political agenda throughout Europe. Road ­transport contributes to these concerns, particularly from the point of view of traffic noise, air and water ­pollution, and recycling. Previous research programmes have enabled significant progress to be made in each of these areas, but at the same time have revealed ­further problems. In the case of road infrastructure, for example, successful efforts to increase recycling and use of waste materials in road construction have sometimes been counteracted by poorer durability of road pavements, and increased environmental risks. ­Lower-noise road surfaces have also posed some technical challenges. These problems now need to be addressed in order to achieve a balance between economically efficient and environmentally efficient construction. Therefore, further efforts are required in reducing air pollution, water and soil pollution and noise. Noise is a particularly high priority for CEDR.

In many of these key environmental policy areas, it has been traditional for legislation to consider the ­automotive industry and its suppliers first; only ­afterwards is the infrastructure considered. Although this model is losing favour in Brussels with a more ­integrated – systems – approach emerging, there are still some indications about forthcoming topics. In the case of Green House Gases (GHG) such as CO2, the ­automotive manufacturers have entered into ­agreements to reduce CO2 from passenger cars, however, the figure agreed falls far short of that required to meet the need of Member States. Therefore, some road authorities are already considering the ­implications of future GHG targets.

  • Helen Viner (TRL)
  • Ursula Blume (BASt)