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C 92 E/192 Official Journal of the European Union EN 17.4.


(2003/C 92 E/251) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2630/02

by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(18 September 2002)

Subject: Rapidly growing contribution of maritime shipping to overland air pollution

1. According to the report, ‘Quantification of emissions from ships associated with ship movements
between ports in the European Community’ (July 2002, Entec UK Ltd), air pollution and acid rain over
land in Europe are increasingly caused by emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide from fuel used
by ships, more than half of the pollution is caused by vessels sailing within the EU or departing from EU
ports, and the largest emissions of sulphur, nitrogen, hydrocarbons and fine dust occur particularly in the
Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark. Might this justify making catalytic reduction units and low-sulphur
fuel compulsory, or at least strongly encouraging their use?

2. Why is the proportion of air pollution in Europe which is accounted for by maritime shipping rising
rapidly (from 4 % SOX in 1990 to between 30 and 68 % in 2010; from 9 % NOX in 1990 to between 40
and 55 % in 2010), despite the fact that less energy is used per unit of cargo than in road haulage or air
transport, whereas efforts are being made to reduce emissions from the ever increasing volume of land

3. Does Directive 1999/30/EC (1) sufficiently provide for a limit on SOX pollution from the fuel of
seagoing vessels, comparable to that for vehicles on land? If not, why not?

4. How soon does the Commission anticipate that fuel for seagoing vessels will emit average levels of
greenhouse gases similar to those emitted by other fuels used in transport, and how will the Commission
achieve this?

(1) OJ L 163, 29.6.1999, p. 41.

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(22 October 2002)

1. Informed by the Entec study, the Commission is currently finalising a Community strategy to reduce
atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships (1). With respect to low sulphur fuel, the strategy will include a
proposal to amend Council Directive 1999/32/EC (2) to introduce new sulphur limits on marine fuels. With
respect to nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions, the Commission’s priority at present is to strengthen global
engine emission standards through the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), but the strategy will
also set out options to promote low-emission shipping in Community sea areas, including market-based

2. The contribution of ships’ emissions to air pollution in the Community is rising rapidly because
regulatory action has been taken to reduce emissions from other sectors, and because national emissions
ceilings (targets for 2010) have been set for land-based emissions in each Member State. With the
exception of sulphur oxides (SOX), ships generally have low emissions per tonne kilometre relative to other
freight transport modes, because they move greater volumes more slowly.

3. Directive 1999/32/EC (not 1999/30/EC) concerns the sulphur content of liquid fuels. The
Commission does not believe that the current sulphur limits on marine gas oil are sufficient, compared
sulphur limits on other fuels. For this reason the Commission will propose to introduce new sulphur limits
on marine fuels through an amendment to Directive 1999/32/EC later 2002.

4. With respect to greenhouse gases, the principal gas under consideration in the Commission’s
forthcoming strategy is carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 emissions are a function of fuel carbon content. The
carbon content of most liquid fuels is broadly similar, so greenhouse gas emission levels from marine fuel
oils are similar to those from liquid fuels used in other transport modes. Overall, greenhouse gas emissions
17.4.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 92 E/193

from ships per tonne kilometre are significantly lower than other transport modes, because ships move a
greater volume of goods at a lower speed. This is one reason why the Commission seeks to promote a
modal shift from road to waterborne transport. Nonetheless, it recognises that ships’ unitary emissions of
CO2 can be reduced and the Commission is therefore supporting the development of a greenhouse gas
indexing system at the IMO.

(1) (for more details see  3).

(2) Council Directive 1999/32/EC of 26 April 1999 relating to a reduction in the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels
and amending Directive 93/12/EEC, OJ L 121, 11.5.1999.

(2003/C 92 E/252) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2633/02

by Philip Bushill-Matthews (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(18 September 2002)

Subject: Road tolls

Would the Commission confirm whether Member States have the power to levy tolls, and to retain in full
the money gained thereby, on roads which have benefited from receipt of European funding?

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(21 October 2002)

Directive 1999/62/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 1999 on the charging of heavy
goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures (1) lays down the rules for the levying of tolls and user
charges on heavy goods vehicles (above 12 tonnes) for the use of certain infrastructures (motorways and
similar roads). Member States wishing to introduce or to maintain such tolls and user charges should
respect this legislation. According to Directive 1999/62/EC and following the European Court’s
jurisprudence (2), motorway toll rates on heavy goods vehicles have to be related to the infrastructure
costs of the motorway concerned regardless of whether the Community grants to finance construction
work have been received. The levels of motorway tolls on other types of vehicles (cars, coaches, lighter
commercial vehicles) are not covered by Community legislation.

As indicated in the White Paper on the European transport policy until 2010 (3), the Commission will
propose to amend the legislative framework related to infrastructure charging notably to ensure that the
different transport modes reflect more accurately the costs they engender. The Commission will publish in
the coming weeks a communication on the methodology for transport infrastructure charging.

(1) OJ L 187, 20.7.1999.

(2) Case C-205/98 Commission vs Austria.
(3) COM(2001) 370 final.

(2003/C 92 E/253) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2635/02

by Brian Simpson (PSE) to the Commission

(18 September 2002)

Subject: Low cost airlines and consumer rights

In light of the increase of complaints from consumers in regard to so-called low cost airlines, would the
Commission investigate the operations of these airlines to ensure that all EU consumer rights legislation is
being adhered to by this type of airline?