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The European Connection - The Power of the Future

Feb 12, 2014
I have watched The Mover magazine evolve and mature into what I think is one of the best, if not the best, trade magazines now serving the removals and storage industry. So, as you can imagine, I was delighted when Steve Jordan invited me to air ‘sticky’ topics at an EU level.

For those of you too young to remember – that’s probably all of you – I was at the helm of our family company’s European Road Removal & International services for forty years before we sold the business in 2004. Running large vehicles on such long haul journeys certainly presented some serious challenges and concerns – the cost of fuel and keeping vehicles up to date being near the top of the list.

For removers today matters concerning fuel and future plans for vehicle replacement programmes are even more worrying, not least, due to the concerns about the future availability of fossil fuels and the ever-hardening environmental legislation. Some of you may already be contemplating plans for investing in vehicles powered by alternative fuels but, at the same time, concerned about refuelling-infrastructure or the lack of it! I thought it wise, therefore, to kick off with at least one of these points by informing you about the plans being discussed in the EU corridors of power – no pun intended!

During a recent Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council session, which was devoted to transport issues, the European Union Member States adopted a general approach on the deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive which is part of the Clean Power for Transport Package.

It is the first EU-wide legislation of this kind, setting the general framework for development of infrastructure for electric vehicles as well as liquefied natural gas (LNG), compressed natural gas (CNG) and hydrogen powered vehicles and vessels. Once adopted it will allow the Member States to establish and maintain a minimum level of alternative fuels infrastructure in the EU and will contribute to the functioning of the European single market.

Creating sufficient infrastructure and common standards are considered crucial actions to boost consumer demand for alternative fuels and for vehicles designed to use them. At the same time, they would encourage manufacturers to develop and build such vehicles.

The main objective of the Directive is to increase the usage of alternative fuels and thereby to reduce the negative impact of transport on the environment. Common technical standards at the European level will enable interoperability of alternative fuels infrastructure.

Setting of common standards is important also for manufacturers as it will allow for focussing on investments, reducing the cost of manufacturing and ensuring that users can use the alternative fuels infrastructure across the EU.

Next Steps
The directive will also have to be approved by the European Parliament to be adopted.  The negotiations between the Member States and the Parliament are expected to be finalised during the Greek Presidency.

For more information concerning ‘Clean Power’ for transport visit: http://goo.gl/BgzChD 

Tony Richman


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