Trucks with foreign licence plates cannot be excluded from environmental zones

10 July 2008

Trucks with foreign licence plates cannot be excluded from environmental zones

In an increasing number of Dutch towns environmental zones are being established, areas from which vehicles with unacceptably polluting exhaust emissions are excluded. The enforcement of these measures to improve air quality is coming up against the problem of vehicles registered abroad, however. These vehicles cannot be included in any ban because of the lack of any international agreement on the exchange of specifications when cars, vans and trucks are registered. Environmental goals are losing out to judicial reasoning.

Carry on polluting

The result? An undesirable advantage for foreign delivery services. In the Netherlands alone in the next few years 100,000 delivery vehicles will be removed from the roads early, because they do not meet more exacting environmental regulations. Yet as things stand there is a real danger that these vehicles will have a second life elsewhere in Europe, merrily continuing to pollute the air, undisturbed by strict laws – and that such vehicles are likely to be sold below the usual second hand price because, as a result of punishing Dutch environmental standards, there will be for a time a glut on the market.

Welcome back – to pollute the Netherlands

The circuit is almost complete, because these vehicles will then have, as a result of their foreign plates, the right to unhindered access to Dutch inner city environmental zones. The SP is receiving complaints from shopkeepers that this is already happening, and SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer has drawn the attention of the European Commission to the problem. Meijer is putting a parliamentary question to try to find out whether the EU has plans to deal with it. "It's better to nip such problems and the discontent they can provoke in the bud," he says.

Translation of illustrated sign:
Environmental Zone - Clean Trucks Only

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