Aviation and Heathrow (UK)

This morning the Transport Secretary outlined the next steps for consultation on the UK Government plans for Heathrow expansion and related matters. The statement is here.

When the consultation documents and draft policies are available (expected later today), I will add links and a short commentary direct to this post online. The update won’t appear in your email, please check the Blog post online for the update.

Anyone wishing any of this proposed legislation, policy or guidance to be included in the ENV Transport Register on their systems, should let me know. 

Government Changes (UK)

Deep and fundamental changes are underway both to Whitehall (government departments) and to the Ministers responsible. Please look out for my Blog posts over the next days as I summarise the changes and their implications for policy and policy delivery.

Please ensure anyone who is not yet signed up to follow my Blog, signs themselves up now. Follow the instructions. 

Thank you

Ultra Low Emission Zone (London)

The London Mayor has announced the present agreed Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for London will be extended to the North and South Circular Roads and come into force one year earlier, in 2019.

Here is access to the present agreed ULEZ and how it will operate. I will Blog again once the Mayor’s revised plans are agreed.

Shipping MRV Regulation (EU)

The Shipping MRV Regulation is a new European Regulation (EU) 2015/757 on the monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport. It applies to shipping activities carried out from 1st January 2018. 

From that date, companies must monitor and report the verified amount of carbon dioxide emitted by their large ships (above 5,000 gross tons) on voyages to, from and between ports in European Union countries. Companies must also provide certain other aggregated annual information, such as data to determine the ships’ energy efficiency. A valid document of compliance issued by an independent verifier has to be carried on board, relating to the shipping activities falling under the MRV Regulation in the previous year.

The European Regulation is found here.

Vehicle Emission Fixed Penalties (England)

A number of London Borough Councils are (in 2015) seeking authorisation to enforce the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002 in order to reduce polluting emissions from stationary vehicles.

Stated reasons for seeking leave to issue fixed penalties are:
(1) vehicle idling while stationary causes unnecessary use of fuel,
(2) vehcile idling increases emissions and
(3) vehicle idling can also create a noisy environment.

It is an offence under Regulation 98 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 to leave a vehicle engine idling unnecessarily whilst stationary and powers are available to authorised local authority officers to issue fixed penalty notices of £20 to drivers who allow their vehicle engines to run unnecessarily while the vehicle is stationary.

Regulation 6(3) of The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002 allows a local authority to authorise any officer of the authority, or any other person, in any area of that authority, to issue a fixed penalty notice in respect of a stationary idling offence committed in its area. Regulation 6(3) also allows authorised persons to stop the commission of stationary idling offences by requiring vehicle engines to be switched off. Traffic marshals, being employed by an outside contractor are not officers of the council and require authorisation to be able to issue fixed penalty notices.

London Borough Council decisions allow that authority to be granted by council officers.

In Westminster, the Westminster Air Quality Action Plan, adopted in 2013, made a commitment to review the options and resource and emissions implications of utilising ‘no idling’ legislation to help improve local air quality. Authorisation to issue FPNs is sought under this Action Plan.

In Lambeth, Council officers will be sent out to explain to drivers the importance of turning engines off and the impact idling has on the environment and public health. If a driver continues to idle for 2 minutes or more, a £20 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) will be issued.

NB: this is not a full list of London Boroughs seeking powers to issue FPNs.

Patrick McLoughlin continues as UK Transport Secretary

Welcoming the continuation of Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin as UK Secretary of State for Transport. 

The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for the policies of the UK Department of Transport, including:

transport strategy, including economic growth and climate change

* spending review

* transport security

* high speed rail, including HS2.

NB: many transport responsibilities are devolved to the separate administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The House of Commons Research Briefing dated 9th February 2015 sets out the current position vis a vis Scotland and is here.


Agrofuels and Biofuels Update (EU)

COM (2012) 595 is the European Commission’s Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 98/70/EC concerning the quality of petrol and diesel fuels (EU Fuel Quality Directive) and amending Directive 2009/28/EC concerning the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (EU Renewable Energy Directive). COM (2012) 595 proposes to limit global land conversion for biofuel production. The use of food-based biofuels to meet the 10% renewable energy target of the Renewable Energy Directive will be limited to 5%.

Directive 2009/28/EC (the Renewable Energy Directive) sets binding targets for the development of renewable energy (RE), which is to account for 20 % of all energy consumption by 2020. Member States are given a high degree of flexibility in implementation, in that they are free to decide which sector (electricity, heating/cooling or transport) they wish to focus on.

This flexibility is qualified when it comes to the transport sector, however: here the Directive requires a minimum share of 10% of energy consumption. Initially the plan was to stipulate this share in the form of biofuels, but following criticism from the EESC and the EP (other EU statutory consultees) it is agreed that other types of renewable energy (such as electricity from renewable sources used in cars and trains; biogas; etc.) could be deployed.

Thus, the amendments being proposed intend to restrict “conven­tional agrofuels” and effect a transition to “advanced biofuels”, which supposedly do not pose a risk of indirect land-use change. Biofuels defined as “advanced” by the Commission are liquid fuels, including those manufactured from biogenic rubbish/waste or algae. The Commission believes that their production should be supported because they are not currently commercially available in large quantities. Incentives are to be provided by increasing the weighting of advanced biofuels towards the 10% target for transport set in Directive 2009/28/EC.

The proposal is to:
(A) limit the contribution of conventional biofuels to the targets set by the Renewable Energy Directive to no more than 5% of energy use in transport, or no more than half the 10 % target;
(B) encourage “advanced biofuels” (with no or low indirect land-use change), not least by weighting them in calculations so that they contribute more to the targets in the Renewable Energy Directive than conventional agrofuels;
(C) improve the greenhouse gas performance of biofuel production processes (reduce emissions) by increasing the emission savings achieved with new facilities;
(D) improve reporting of greenhouse gas emissions by obliging Member States and fuel suppliers to report emissions linked to indirect land-use change caused by biofuels.

Progress on COM (2012) 595 may be observed here