CLEAN ROAD TRANSPORT VEHICLES (5130/06)
Letter from the Chairman to Stephen Ladyman
MP, Minister of State, Department for Transport
Sub-Committee B considered this document at
its meeting on 13 February 2005 and decided to maintain the scrutiny
We are greatly concerned about the subsidiarity
issue connected with this document. We would like the Government
to set out its own views on the subsidiarity issue. What legal
advice have you received on this point?
As you are aware, subsidiarity is an issue in
its own right and is not to do with whether the Government or
this Committee agree with a policy. It would seem that that distinction
is being blurred.
Your Explanatory Memorandum does not deal with
proportionality. What is the Government's view on the proportionality
of this Proposal?
We noted that the UK Government plans to consult
in detail with the public sector and with engine and vehicle manufacturers
on the appropriateness of the proposals and how the Directive
might best be implemented. We think this consultation should not
take place until the subsidiarity issue has been resolvedwhat
is your view on this?
15 February 2006
Letter from Stephen Ladyman MP to the
Thank you for your letter of 15 February.
I am sorry that the Explanatory Memorandum appeared
to blur the distinction between the Government's view on the policy
and the issue of subsidiarity in its own right; that was not my
Since the Explanatory Memorandum was prepared
we have been able to give more consideration to the subsidiarity
issue. We have concluded that the Directive proposal may be compliant
with the principle of subsidiarity. However this conclusion does
depend on the Commission providing us with convincing analysis
on how the proposal would create a "critical mass" for
demand for EEV vehicles that would not occur if Member States
In order to show that this proposal is not compliant
with the principle of subsidiarity, it would be necessary to show
that the objectives of the proposal could be sufficiently achieved
by Member States or that these objectives could not be better
achieved by the EC by reason of the scale or effect of the proposed
The Treaty of Amsterdam gives further guidance
on the application of the principle of subsidiarity. In particular,
the following guidelines should be used in examining whether the
condition above is fulfilled:
(a) the proposed legislation has transnational
aspects which cannot be satisfactorily regulated by action by
(b) action by Member States alone, or lack
of Community action, would either conflict with the objectives
of the Treaty or otherwise significantly damage Member States'
(c) action at Community level would produce
clear benefit by reason of its scale or effects compared with
action at the level of Member States.
Regarding "a" above, the proposed
legislation does have transnational aspects, in that the vehicle
market is pan-European. As the proposal would affect the public
procurement of vehicles, a further transnational aspect is that.
procurement law is set at a European level in order to enhance
and maintain the internal market, and any action undertaken on
procurement must be consistent with EU procurement rules.
Turning to "b" above it is doubtful
that action at member state level alone would conflict with the
Treaty's objectives or significantly damage member state's interests.
This could go to show that the proposal does not fulfil the principle
of subsidiarity. However, the Commission has argued that the specific
objective of creating a market for cleaner vehicles (ie of the
EEV standard) requires the economies of scale that could come
only from a mass marketthe sort that might result from
mandatory purchasing of such vehicles by the combined public sectors
of the EU. It has explained, in its own Explanatory Memorandum
that, in its opinion, action at Member State level would not create
a sufficient "critical mass" for industry to invest
in cleaner technologies. So according to the Commission the measure
could produce clear benefit by reason of scale and effect compared
with action at the level of Member States, in compliance with
the guideline at "c" above.
For all that the Commission may have a point
here, I think that it is dependent upon its producing very clear
analysis in support. The Commission explains that it set the requirement
at the minimum level necessary to achieve the objective yet there
seems to be no clear justification for fixing at 25 per cent the
quota of EEV vehicles that the public sector is to be required
by the Directive's provisions to purchase or lease. Nor is there
any opportunity cost analysis comparing any expenditure required
to implement the directive with other possibly more effective
uses. On the other hand, should the Commission back its view up
with adequate research data, it seems to me that it could reasonably
be argued that the proposal is compliant with the principle of
You are right to ask about the proportionality
of the measure. My initial view is that the measure may not be
proportionate. The Explanatory Memorandum has already identified
our concerns that the Proposal might be overtaken by events, given
that "Euro V" standards will become mandatory anyway
in 2009 and that we hope to be considering proposals from the
Commission for "Euro VI" within a year. But at the moment
we have a real difficulty in assessing the costs and benefits
of the Proposal because of the lack of data on the number and
types of vehicle that might be affected in the UK.
For this reason I intend to start detailed consultation
with those that have an interest as soon as possible, informing
them of our view on subsidiarity and gathering the information
needed to make a proper judgement on overall costs and effectiveness.
I will, of course, keep the Committees informed of progress in
13 March 2006
Letter from the Chairman to Stephen Ladyman
Thank you for your letter of 13 March, replying
to my letter of 15 February, which Sub-Committee B considered
at its meeting on 27 March 2006.
We are grateful to you for fully explaining
the distinction between the application of the subsidiarity principle
and the Government's view as to the desirability of the Clean
Vehicles Transport Directive. We note and share your concerns
as to the proportionality of this measure. We look forward to
hearing of the results of the consultation process when they are
29 March 2006