Radical EU transport plan unveiled
Petrol and diesel-driven cars should be banned from cities across Europe by 2050 to slash dependence on oil and tackle climate change, the European Commission has said.
A sweeping transport plan to be put to EU governments insists that phasing out "conventionally fuelled" cars by then is not an assault on personal mobility.
Coupled with proposals and targets covering road, rail and air travel, the Commission says its transformation of the European transport system can increase mobility and cut congestion and emissions.
EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas said: "The widely held belief that you need to cut mobility to fight climate change is simply not true. Competitive transport systems are vital for Europe's ability to compete in the world, for economic growth, job creation and for people's everyday quality of life."
He was unveiling plans adopted by the Commission on Monday for a Single European Transport Area, intended to set up "a fully integrated transport network which ... allows for a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers and freight".
The measures the document proposes, says the Commission, could "dramatically reduce Europe's dependence on imported oil and cut carbon emissions in transport by 60% by 2050". Its key goals by 2050 are no more conventionally fuelled cars in cities, 40% use of sustainable low-carbon fuels in aviation; at least a 40% cut in shipping emissions and a 50% shift of medium distance inter-city passenger and freight journeys from road to rail and waterborne transport.
The document says that by 2050 the majority of medium-distance passenger journeys - those above about 190 miles - should be by rail and more than half of road freight travelling more than 190 miles should move to rail or boat (30% by 2030). All core network airports should be connected to the rail network by 2050, with all core seaports "sufficiently connected to the rail freight and, where possible, inland waterway system".
For longer-distance travel, and intercontinental freight, air and sea travel will benefit from "new engines, fuels and traffic management systems (which) will increase efficiency and reduce emissions", says the document.
For urban transport, the Commission calls for 50% shift away from conventionally fuelled cars by 2030, phasing them out altogether in cities by 2050. The aim is to achieve "essentially CO2-free movement of goods in major urban centres by 2030".
A huge goal is that by 2050 Europe should "move close to zero fatalities in road transport", with an interim target of halving all road casualties by 2020.