The European Commission has published a Communication on a European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility on the 20th of July 2016.
HyER welcomes this Communication and places great importance on the implementation of this Low Emission Strategy. We especially welcome the section on ‘action by cities’ of the Communication. We however believe that HyER members and local and regional authorities in general have a much more influential role to play than portrayed in this section. HyER has therefore done a response to the strategy, presented today at our Going Zero seminar. The document has been sent to relevant stakeholders at the European level and it is available on the HyER website as well as from the HyER Secretariat.
HyER believes that with electro-mobility, hydrogen fuel cells will play a key role in the low emission transport system of the future, especially for heavy vehicles which need a longer range. We therefore believe that the role of hydrogen and fuel cell transport should be emphasised more fully in the Communication. Hydrogen can also be a viable option for decarbonising train lines, and for maritime applications such as ferries.
We would also like to put the emphasis on last mile deliveries and light electric vehicles, which are not mentioned in the Communication but will become of a greater importance in cities. We would also like to mention the issue of supply. There is almost no offer on some classes of vehicles from European manufacturers. This is an issue which needs to be tackled rapidly. It is also essential that manufacturers continuously improve the performance of their vehicles, as public authorities need to be able to rely on low emission vehicles.
Moreover, as stated in the Communication there is an important link between the energy and transport sectors. We therefore feel that more attention should be given to the production of electricity from renewable sources and the possibility of storing the surplus renewable energy production in the form of hydrogen or in batteries. HyER would like to see greater investment in smart grids, which will be very important for balancing grid demand when a larger number of electric vehicles will be on the roads.
Regarding the role of cities and regions in low emission transport, HyER would like to remind the Commission that HyER members and local and regional authorities are major procurers of cars and vans. They will also have an important role to play in the post 2020 strategy for lorries, buses and coaches. As first users, cities and regions can play a significant role in developing markets. Public Procurement is mentioned in the document but should be emphasised much stronger by giving clear targets.
For all the above-mentionned reasons, and the additional ones mentionned in our response, we believe that regions should be at the heart of the transition to low emission transport. While HyER welcomes the great financial support the EU has given to regions over the past years, we would also like to remind the Commission of the significant financial contribution made by cities and regions, and that more financial support will be needed over the next few years to implement the Commission’s Strategy.
HyER would like to underline the fact that a lot of projects have already been implemented in regions and these positive stories should be more widely publicised. A number of examples of interesting projects developed by HyER members can be found here.
Finally, HyER wishes to once again stress that high levels of cooperation between EU, national and local levels of government are required to implement the Commission’s strategy. HyER is committed to continue to work closely with different stakeholders. We are hoping that the Commission will take our comments into account, and will consider them for future strategy papers as well.
HyER’s response to COM (2016) 501 is available here.