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Progress in charge structure and internalisation policies

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Assessment made on  01 Oct 2003

Generic metadata


Transport Transport (Primary theme)

DPSIR: Response


Indicator codes
  • TERM 026
Geographic coverage:

Policy issue:  Recover the full costs of transport including externalities from users


Key assessment

Restructuring of transport charges towards internalisation of external costs in the ACs is in its nascence. The level of sophistication of transport charges and taxes is improving in line with the degree of approximation of harmonisation of EU legislation, albeit without a coordinated approach or specific internalisation objectives. The only specific internalisation policy instruments in place are tax breaks on unleaded petrol (five countries) and differentiated noise charges at airports (Czech Republic and Cyprus).

Progress in restructuring transport charges towards better internalisation of external costs is slow. An important development in 2003 was the London congestion charging scheme introduced February 17. Furthermore, Austria and Germany will introduce a HGV kilometre charging scheme on their motorways. The Netherlands, on the other hand, stopped tax breaks for new fuel-efficient or 'Euro4' cars and new 'Euro4' vans. Germany, UK and Sweden have the most differentiation instruments in place. Ireland, Greece, Italy and Luxembourg lag behind. Charge differentiation concentrates mainly on air pollution in the road sector and noise in the aviation sector. Very few measures have yet been taken to internalise costs of congestion and CO2 emission, and rail and road noise.


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