A deal to increase the fuel efficiency of cars and reduce their CO2 emissions was today halted in Brussels after German chancellor Angela Merkel called in favours from British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The UK had been expected to support an agreement reached with MEPs on Monday that calls for fuel efficiency improvements of more than 25% by 2020, reducing CO2 emissions from new cars to an average of 95g/km.
A study by the European Commission suggests that the fuel efficiency deal could save as much as £850 for an average driver and secure a 6% reduction in UK oil imports. Continue reading
Conservative MEPs got a second opportunity to help British business today – and once again blew it.
In April, the European Parliament voted on a proposal to backload the continent’s Emissions Trading Scheme that sets a price for industrial carbon dioxide emissions in an effort to combat climate change. The vote was lost be 334-315 with British Tory MEPs voting against.
Today, the Environment Committee of the European Parliament voted again on the measure, sending it back to the full parliament for another attempt to pass the legislation.
Tory MEPs voted against backloading despite knowing that carbon prices in the UK leave UK manufacturers paying more for their electricity than their EU competitors and the EU plans would have reduced that gap.
Their votes pu tUK manufacturing industry at a disadvantage compared to Germany or the Netherlands.
Speaking after the Environment Committee’s 2-1 endorsement of the plan UK Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies MEP said, “Conservative MEPs have turned their back on the future and shown their contempt both for the needs of British industry and the policies of the coalition government. Continue reading
Ahead of tomorrow’s European Council on energy, MEPs in Strasbourg today sent a strong message to national governments in support of renewable energy calling for mandatory targets for 2013.
Fiona Hall MEP, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament and energy spokesperson, commented after the vote:
“The 2020 renewables target kick-started the industry and created jobs and growth in a time of economic downturn. We need to keep up the momentum – and continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. It is a win-win situation. Continue reading
MEPs in Strasbourg today narrowly (334-315) rejected a proposal by the European Commission to delay the auctioning of greenhouse gas allowances to avoid a further drop in the price of carbon. The European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was originally introduced to incentivise investments in low carbon technologies by putting a price on polluting greenhouse gas emissions.
UK Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, the environment spokesman for the Liberal Democrat (ALDE) group in the European Parliament, commented after the vote:
“MEPs have turned their back on the future. Continue reading
The Government has been branded “beyond complacent” after it stalled on banning chemicals which could damage bees.
Catherine Bearder, a Lib Dem MEP for the South East of England, is backing calls to suspend the use of neonicotinoids amid fears of the impact on the bee population.
Members of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee have demanded a moratorium on use of the chemicals.
However, the UK Government is still unconvinced and is asking the European Commission to launch a major study to settle the debate.
But Catherine said: “This is beyond complacent. Britain cannot continue to flap around on the issue. We all know how important bees are to our biodiversity. Continue reading
The European Commission has warned that new model types of Daimler cars put on the market anywhere in Europe do not conform to EU law and should not be sold.
The announcement could inflict huge damage upon Daimler’s finances and reputation.
Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani will appear in front of the Environment Committee tonight (20 March 17.30-18.30) to discuss the enforcement of the mobile air conditioning (MAC) directive, applicable since 1 January 2013. Continue reading
Liberal Democrat MEP Fiona Hall welcomed today’s vote in the European Parliament’s Industry Committee to renew the procedure in which vehicles are tested on their emissions and fuel efficiency.
Current tests do not take place under real life conditions and turn a blind eye to the practice of taping over cracks around the doors and grill, over-inflated tyres, adjusting the wheel alignment and brakes, using special super-lubricants, minimising the weight of the vehicle, testing at altitude and at unrealistically high temperatures and on super-slick test-tracks.
Ms Hall was responsible for drafting a report in the Industry Committee on measures to help reach the EU’s 2020 targets of cutting CO2 emissions for passenger cars. Commenting after the vote, she said: Continue reading
An agreement between ministers to curb the discard of fish has been criticised by a local Euro-MP for leaving gaping loopholes.
Fisheries ministers agreed on Wednesday (27.2) to reforms of the EU common fisheries policy, but said that close to 10% of all fish caught can still be discarded, dead.
Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies described the loophole as a breach of the principle that all fish caught should be landed. Continue reading
MEPs today voted in favour of mandatorily introducing acoustic vehicle alerting systems (AVAS) in quiet vehicles such as electric and hybrid cars to protect vulnerable road users. Road safety organisations and organisations for partially sighted and blind people such as Guide Dog had called for these acoustic warning devices in order to avoid an increased accident risk for vulnerable road users.
Lib Dem MEP leader Fiona Hall, who visited a Guide Dog branch in Newcastle to talk about the challenges faced by visually impaired road users and take part in a blindfolded walk along a busy road, commented:
“Walking blindfolded along a busy road in Newcastle, I was struck by how overwhelming normal traffic situations are for partially sighted and blind people and how important our hearing is to judge whether it is safe or not to cross a road. Continue reading
MEPs today voted for an ambitious reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) by 502 to 137 votes.
UK Liberal Democrat MEP, who founded the cross-party MEP campaign group Fish For the Future, commented after the historic vote:
“Today’s overwhelming support for EU fisheries reform from MEPs across all parties and nationalities puts us in a very strong negotiation position with Member States in the Council of Ministers. The Irish Presidency has made clear it wants to complete the reform by June.
“People across Europe have said that we must stop overfishing, rebuild our fish stocks, and put an end to the waste of millions of tonnes of fish that are thrown back into the sea, dead, each year. Continue reading