Up till now there has been little attention in the European transport and environmental policy for the air pollution that is caused by freight transport over rail due to its relative low contribution to the total NOX and PM10-emissions of European transport. Still there are four arguments to be given to take on these emissions.
The first argument is the expected strong increase of the share in the emissions in the coming years. The causes for this are:
The second argument is the fact that at the moment the diesel locomotive, besides the sea vessel, is the only transport mode that is not subject to emission standards.
The third argument is a consequence of the second: rail transport will have to deal with the emissions of diesel locomotives in order to maintain its image as a relatively clean mode of transport. The current NOX and PM10-emissions of transport by means of diesel powered trains are equal to or higher than that of transport by lorry and will fall behind in the coming years.
The fourth argument is cost-effectiveness. Now that other transport modes need to take ever more expensive measures to reduce their emissions, it seems only logical to investigate whether those reductions are far more cost-effective in diesel locomotives.
At the moment EU directive 97/68/EC on the emissions of non-road mobile machinery is under revision. Recently the Environment Council has proposed to include diesel locomotives in this directive. The Dutch ministry of environment supports this development and has asked CE to:
On the basis of the findings of this study, the above given arguments and the future developments in European rail transport, we recommend:
In addition, the functioning of the market of international rail transport can be improved, and the CO2-emissions reduced when an EU-minimum level for the excise duty on diesel for locomotives is introduced.