Jan 24, 2019, 07:56am
Protestors wearing gas masks demonstrate outside the U.K. Department for Transport over claims polluted air is poisoning thousands of people to death every year in London.
EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc has said motorists should start to pay a great deal more to mitigate the damage they cause to the environment and for the lives lost on roads. These so-called “negative externalities” are currently paid by every European taxpayer via general taxation but Bulc said the EU should move to a “polluter pays” model.
She made her incendiary comments in a largely overlooked Linkedin article posted earlier this month.
“This is about … influencing the behavior of users so that they take into account the harmful effects of their transport-related decisions,” she wrote.
“It is also about creating a level playing field among the different modes of transport in terms of taxes and charges.”
Her article was written as a follow-up to a European Commission conference held on multimodal sustainable transport in December last year. A preliminary study was released at this conference which admitted the EU has always underestimated the true costs of transport, especially road transport, and that in the future motorists would have to contribute directly to pay for the damage they cause.
“On the basis of the ‘user pays’ and the ‘polluter pays’ principles, these external costs should be internalised, i.e. integrated in the price of transport,” wrote Bulc in January.