Documents considered by the Committee on 21 November 2018 Contents

5Second mobility package: clean and energy-efficient vehicles

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; but a scrutiny waiver granted for a General Approach to be sought in the Transport Council of 3 December 2018.

Document details

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2009/33/EU on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles

Legal base

Article 192 TFEU; ordinary legislative procedure; QMV

Department

Transport

Document Number

(39209), 14183/17 + ADDs 1–6, COM(17) 653

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

5.1The proposal under scrutiny was first considered by the Committee on 21 March 2018 and forms part of the Commission’s ‘Europe on the Move’ mobility initiative which aims to ensure that the European transport sector stays “competitive in a socially fair transition towards clean energy and digitalisation”.

5.2The proposal would amend Directive 2009/33/EU — on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles — by widening its scope to include a revised definition of what constitutes a “clean” light-duty vehicle (LDVs). The Directive would also set a minimum public procurement target of 35% for clean LDVs by 2025 and delegate power to the Commission to set a similar target for heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) once relevant CO2 emission standards have been set at EU-level.

5.3A full background to the proposal, including information on the Commission’s ex-post evaluation of Directive 2009/33/EU, its rationale for regulatory action and the Government’s initial legal and political assessment, can be found in our first Report to the House of 21 March 2018.

5.4In response to our requests for further information, Minister of State at the Department for Transport (Jesse Norman), wrote to the Committee on 14 November 2018. The Minister asks that the Committee consider granting the Government a scrutiny waiver so that it can support a General Approach on the proposal likely to be sought in the Transport Council of 3 December 2018.

5.5We note that the Committee’s initial Report on the proposal was committed to the House on 27 March 2018. It is nearly eight months between this Report being made available to the Minister and his response. In his letter of 14 November, the Minister apologises for this delay citing “developments in negotiations” as affecting his ability to respond to the first question we raised. It is unclear why this delay prevented the Minister from writing to the Committee to address our other questions or, out of courtesy to the Committee, providing a report on the progress of Working Group discussions. We note that the Minister now seeks a scrutiny waiver to support a General Approach less than three weeks from the date of his first formal correspondence.

Minister’s letter of 14 November 2018

5.6In our first Report, the Committee asked whether the Government intends to implement any Commission delegated act under the proposed Directive after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. In response, the Minister explains that the proposed use of delegated acts to set procurement targets for HDVs was contentious and, at the behest of Member States (including the UK), has been removed from the latest working text of the proposed Directive.

5.7The Committee also enquired as to whether the UK would maintain reporting obligations provided for under the proposal after leaving the EU. The Minister states that “this will depend on whether the UK is required to implement the Directive under the terms of the final Withdrawal Agreement”.

5.8Our final question asked whether the Government had undertaken any assessment of the proposal’s proportionality, appropriateness, impact, costs and benefits for the UK. The Minister informs us that his department have undertaken some initial work based on the Commission’s Impact Assessment but are unable to provide any further information at this time.

5.9The Minister informs the Committee that, to-date, discussions in Working Groups have focussed on the definition of a ‘clean’ vehicle and the procurement targets suggested for clean vehicles. With regards to the former, the Minister states that the Government is seeking consistency between the definition adopted in the proposal and that provided for in EU legislation currently under discussion concerning CO2 reduction targets for LDVs and HDVs. On the latter, the Government believes that it is inappropriate for clean vehicle targets to be set for the entirety of the public-sector fleet and that it should be for Member States to decide the scope of such targets.

5.10The Minister requests a scrutiny waiver in order to support a General Approach on the proposed Directive should it be included in the final agenda for the 3 December Transport Council. As the Minister has satisfactorily answered the questions raised in our first Report and has updated the Committee on those areas of the proposal that are contentious and has, furthermore, clearly outlined the Government’s positions in this regard, we grant the requested waiver.

5.11This having been said, we are concerned at the amount of time — nearly eight months — that it has taken the Minister to respond to our initial Report. We remind the Minister that effective scrutiny is dependent upon the active engagement of Government. Irrespective of delays in negotiations (which are to be expected), at minimum, the Committee must be kept abreast, at regular intervals, of developments concerning the documents that it holds under scrutiny. Failure to do so, especially against tight deadlines (as is presently the case), may lead to such requests being declined.

5.12We seek an update on the outcome of the December Transport Council by 14 January 2019. We are interested to hear, in particular, of any alternative arrangements proposed for setting procurement targets for HDVs. Furthermore, we acknowledge the Government’s position of opposing procurement targets for the entirety of the public sector but, as the proposal is currently framed, request further information on the target values for LDVs and HDVs that it would be willing to support.

Full details of the documents:

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2009/33/EU on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles: (39209), 14183/17 + ADDs 1–6, COM(17) 653.

Previous Committee Reports

Twenty-first report HC 301–xx (2017–19) chapter 7 (21 March 2018).





Published: 27 November 2018