Documents considered by the Committee on 6 June 2018 Contents

10Mobility Package: road use charges

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

(a) Not cleared from scrutiny; (b) Cleared from scrutiny; (c) Not cleared from scrutiny

Document details

(a) Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures; (b) Proposal for a Directive on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchanges of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union; (c) Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures, as regards certain provisions on vehicle taxation

Legal base

(a) and (b) Article 91 TFEU; ordinary legislative procedure; QMV (c) Article 113 TFEU; special legislative procedure; unanimity

Department

Cabinet Office AND Foreign and Commonwealth Office AND Transport

Document Numbers

(a) (38792), 9672/17 + ADDs 1–4, COM(17) 275; (b) (38793), 9673/17 + ADDs 1–5, COM(17) 280; (c) (38827), 10175/17 + ADDs 1–4, COM(17) 276

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

10.1On 31 May 2017 the European Commission adopted a package of proposals referred to titled “Europe on the Move”, or the “first mobility package”, consisting of eight legislative initiatives which aim to promote sustainable and equitable road transport.

10.2The road use charging pillar of the package consists of three proposals to update EU legislation on road charging:

10.3Due to the high volume of documents under consideration at the 7 June Transport Council, and based on the Government’s assurance that the proposals which relate to the Eurovignette Directive have not made significant progress in Council negotiations, this report will focus exclusively on that element of the road charging pillar on which a General Approach will be sought: the proposed revisions to the EETS Directive.

10.4The Government has previously indicated that it did not have major concerns about this proposal. In its initial response to the proposal on 5 July 2017, the Government indicated that the proposed recast of the EETS Directive complied with the principle of subsidiarity, as its objectives were cross-border in nature and could not be better achieved by the Member States. The Minister also noted that if the proposal resulted in a successful EETS coming into existence it would potentially benefit UK hauliers, who would have the option of subscribing to a single EETS service rather than having to comply with multiple distinct electronic tolling and charging systems across Europe. However, the Minister also acknowledged that the proposal to require information about vehicle owners to be shared across national boundaries to aid enforcement of road user charges could impose a cost to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

10.5In its first report regarding the road charging pillar, the Committee sought further clarification from the Government on a number of points on the proposed recast of the EETS Directive, covering the relevance of data protection issues post-exit for the UK’s ability to share vehicle registration data with the EU, the necessity of requiring that EETS systems must be compatible with the EU’s Galileo system post-exit, and its potential implications for UK suppliers of such systems post-Brexit.

10.6On 8 May 2018 the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport (Jesse Norman) provided the Committee with an update. In addition to responding to the Committee’s questions, he informs the Committee that the Bulgarian Presidency has pushed forward discussions on the European Electronic Tolling Service (EETS) proposal (9673/17), and now intends to seek a General Approach at the 7 June Transport Council. He therefore asks the Committee to clear the proposal from scrutiny.

10.7Now that the Government has had more time to evaluate the detail of the proposed revision of the EETS proposal, we note the Minister’s conclusion that it is “largely technical” and that the benefits it will bring, principally that of making it easier to chase up non-payment of tolls by foreign drivers, make it desirable to support the Presidency’s compromise text. We also note the Government’s previous assessment that, if the proposals were to result in the successful emergence of an EU-wide interoperable electronic road toll system, UK hauliers would have the option of subscribing to such a service, meaning that “they would only have to interact with a single EETS provider rather than multiple tolling and charging systems across Europe”.

10.8In response to the Committee’s question concerning cross-border data sharing in cases of non-compliance, we take note of the Minister’s assessment that the added benefits of the proposed system of information-sharing for the purposes of enforcing compliance outweigh the minor associated costs to the DVLA, which would have to oversee this administrative activity. More generally, UK-EU data sharing will be subject either to provisions which form part of the future relationship or the third country arrangements set out in Chapter V of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (the General Data Protection Regulation).

10.9Regarding Galileo, the Minister considers that the requirement for EETS tolling systems which use satellite-technology to be Galileo-compatible is not problematic. Manufacturers of EU-based tolling systems which use satellite technology will be free to use GPS technology as well. Manufacturers of tolling systems which do not use satellite technology will not have to be Galileo compatible. Officials have confirmed that, even if the UK were to leave the Galileo space programme, UK manufacturers would continue to be able to manufacture Galileo-compatible EETS systems—the restrictions on third country manufacturers relate to participation in the programme itself and, in particular, work related to the encrypted Public Regulated Service. The Committee will continue to separately scrutinise the difficulties regarding the UK’s continued participation in the EU Galileo space programme.

10.10We now clear the proposed recast of the EETS Directive (document b) from scrutiny. We retain the proposed revisions to the “Eurovignette Directive”—documents (a) and (c)—under scrutiny.

Full details of the documents

(a) Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures: (38792), 9672/17 + ADDs 1–4, COM(17) 275; (b) Proposal for a Directive on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchanges of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union: (38793), 9673/17 + ADDs 1–5, COM(17) 280; (c) Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures, as regards certain provisions on vehicle taxation: (38827), 10175/17 + ADDs 1–4, COM(17) 276.

Background

10.11On 31 May 2017 the European Commission adopted the first package of initiatives in this regard titled “Europe on the Move”, widely referred to as the First Mobility Package.

10.12The initiatives in the package can be subdivided into three pillars:

The EETS Directive

10.13Directive 2004/52/EC mandated the establishment of a European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) by which road users could, through a single contract with an EETS provider, and using a single on-board unit, pay electronic tolls throughout the EU. The objectives of the legislation were to establish technical, contractual and procedural interoperability of electronic tolls throughout the EU, which would reduce compliance costs for road users and administration costs for road operators managing electronic fee collection systems.

10.14However, a 2016 evaluation found that the legislation had failed to deliver on most of its objectives. A European Electronic Toll Service has not been set up, there has been hardly any progress on interoperability, and, despite a reduction in the cost of on-board technologies, the costs of electronic tolling for toll chargers and road users has fallen very little. Reasons for this failure included that:

10.15The Commission’s proposed recast of the existing Directive would, inter alia:

10.16The Government’s Explanatory Memorandum regarding this proposal accepted that the proposed recast of the EETS Directive complied with the principle of subsidiarity, as the objectives of the proposals were inherently cross-border in nature and could not be achieved by Member States on their own because:

10.17In its first report on the proposal, the Committee concluded that there were no issues with subsidiarity regarding this aspect of the proposal, and noted the Government’s view that the UK’s geographical position in Europe might mean that providers may decide that there is an insufficient business case to extend services to the UK. The Committee also:

The Minister’s letter of 8 May 2018

10.18The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport (Jesse Norman ) has provided the Committee with an update in which he states that the Bulgarian Presidency has pushed forward discussions on the European Electronic Tolling Service (EETS) proposal (9673/17), and intends to seek a General Approach at the 7 June Transport Council.

Data sharing

10.19In response to the Committee’s question, the Minister states that the proposal to require information about vehicle owners to be shared across national boundaries to aid enforcement of road user charges could help ensure that compliance rates for UK tolls and charges are higher, but could also impose small additional administrative costs to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). On balance, the Minister states that his view is that the added benefits of information-sharing for the purposes of enforcing compliance of tolls outweigh the minor associated costs to the DVLA.

Galileo

10.20In response to the Committee’s question regarding the necessity of requiring that EETS systems be compatible with the EU’s Galileo global navigation satellite system, the Minister states that he has not identified any significant problems with this requirement. He explains that, under the Directive:

10.21Although the Minister did not address this point directly, when officials were contacted for further clarification, they offered assurances that, even if the UK were to leave the Galileo space programme, UK manufacturers would continue to be able to manufacture Galileo-compatible EETS systems, as they are reliant on the Galileo Open Service, not the encrypted Public Regulated Service.

10.22Wider UK concerns regarding Galileo, which relate principally to UK access to the PRS service and the ability of the UK space sector to participate in the Galileo space programme (i.e. the manufacturing of the satellites and involvement in the provision of ancillary services), and in particular the production of the PRS service, are wholly separate to the present proposal. The Committee has scrutinised these implications in a separate report.

Previous Committee Reports

Fourth Report HC 301–iv (2017–19), chapter 5 (6 December 2017).





Published: 12 June 2018