EU eyes pollution tolls for truckers

BRDO PRI KRANJU, Slovenia, May 5, 2008 (AFP) – Europe’s truckers would have to pay for the pollution, traffic jams and noise they cause if the European Commission gets its way. The European Union’s executive arm is putting the finishing touches on proposals that would hit road hauliers with special new toll fees for the environmental damage their trucks cause, which it hopes to bring out in June.

Before hammering out the details on how the unprecedented toll fees would be calculated, the commission was sounding out EU transport ministers at meeting in Slovenia on Monday and Tuesday.

“It looks like there will be a pretty ferocious battle in the months ahead with some countries resistant to any idea of tolls,” an official close to EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said.

The French commissioner wants hauliers to invest in less polluting trucks while also giving a boost to other, greener modes of transport such as trains or canals.

Currently, three-fourths of all goods in Europe are transported by road, putting strain on the environment and infrastructure — not to mention other drivers nerves.

Under a 15-year-old law known as the Eurovignette direct