In late 1997, the EU Commission reviewed its Transit Agreement with Austria, concluding that the ecopoints systems was an effective means to reduce pollution caused by lorries driving through Austria. Yet heavy transport frequencies continued to grow in the sensitive Alpine valleys, the result of the carriers' practice of rerouting transports to get the most out of their quota of ecopoints and the increased use of ECMT permits. And in spite of the ecopoints scheme, carriers did not always use state-of-the art "environmentally friendly" lorries. Carriers from Greece, the U.K. and Ireland in particular appeared to have sufficient ecopoints at their disposal to use their obsolete, highly polluting lorries for Alpine transports, putting an undue burden on the environment. Before expiry of the Transit Agreement, i.e., by 2003 at the latest, proposals are to be developed to achieve a sustainable solution to the transit problem. Transports through sensitive regions could be subject to road-pricing to reflect the external costs produced by them. All of the lorry transport in these zones, including spot, source and destination traffic, is to be governed by limits for noise and pollutant emissions which are to be set as low as possible. In addition, noise barriers, speed limits and a ban on night driving are to reduce the environmental burden. Nevertheless efforts need to be made to reduce pollution from passenger cars as well in order to achieve a fundamental improvement in the living conditions of the Alpine valleys suffering from transit traffic.
Erste Bewertung des Transitvertrags; The Transit Agreement in Practice
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