Emissions from road transport

According to the latest emission inventory, road transport accounted for 34% of nitrogen oxides emissions (national totals), 11% of the fine particulate matter and 11% of non-methane volatile organic compounds. The Dutch Informative Inventory Report for 2020 also shows that road transport is the source of 16% of the total particulate matter and 32% of the total black carbon emissions.

Most road transport emissions in the Netherlands have significantly decreased over time notably linked to the introduction of more stringent EU emission standards for road vehicles. Emissions of ammonia from road transport are however rather increasing since 2015.

The Netherlands are on the forefront in rolling out infrastructure for electric vehicles and have the highest market share of electric passenger cars in the EU. Public transport systems and bicycle infrastructure are comparably very well developed. Still, road transport is found to cause approximately 36% of all health impacts related to air pollution (Clean Air Agreement analysis) and the achievement of air quality objectives are particularly challenging in zones with intense traffic, notably in and around urban areas.

Combining the need for efficient mobility for a growing and increasingly urban population with the need for more sustainable transport and less air pollution is therefore a key objective for mainstreaming of air quality policy.

The dialogue participants noted that actions at EU level could support national efforts notably by further strengthening rules and requirements, e.g. euro standards for vehicles. This legislation is regularly reviewed. In addition, non-exhaust emission from tyres and break wear could be further addressed as appropriate, both by legislative means and by improved road user behaviours (e.g. eco-driving skills).

Soft/active transport modes could be further facilitated notably with the increasing trend of e-bikes and electric mopeds. Cycling highways and more bicycle parking space are being considered in many municipalities as part of the urban planning. Financial incentives mentioned that could support the transition includes further use of congestion charges and various tax incentives (bonus malus).

Harriët Tiemens

(Councillor City of Nijmegen)

Our challenge: sustainable urbanization

Nijmegen has a growing population and is experiencing an amazing transformation along the River Waal. In addition to the major intervention, ‘Room for the river’ it provides Nijmegen with excellent opportunities for a range of developments. Nijmegen has the biggest inland port of The Netherlands, strategically located at the river Waal. This offers good  economical opportunities. But there is also a big river straight through town, which is the busiest international route of the EU for inland shipping. Road transport, mobility and inland waterway transport all come together in Nijmegen and cause the corresponding air pollution.

To work on cleaner air until 2030 we have a new implementation programme with nearly 30 measures. One of the themes is Clean road transport, which comprises measures such as further extension of our extensive bicycle policy and red highways for bicycles, zero-emission zones and banning  old mopeds and motorised bicycles in these zones.

As a city we can’t do this alone. Whilst working on our ambitions, we could use some help from Europe and our national government. We need EU-decisions on rules and energy sources, for the city to be able to move towards cleaner and healthier air.

Taxes can be used to stimulate sustainable transport. As a city, we feel a bottleneck in the current system. At this moment for example taxes need to be payed on the charging of electrical vessels, whereas refuelling with diesel is exempted. We need the uptake of sustainable clean fuells in the Energy Taxation Directive. The European Federation of Inland Ports pleads to support the uptake of  all sustainable clean fuels and energies in the review of the Energy Taxation Directive, by introducing a long-term tax exemption for those fuels. We support this plead! 

We would welcome commitment to sustainable transport and energy in the European Recovery and Resilience Fund. The aim of this fund is to mitigate the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic and make European economies and societies more sustainable,  resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions. For the Netherlands this fund could be set up to stimulate sustainable transport, sustainable inner harbors and clean inland shipping, bicycle solutions and sustainable shared mobility.