The European Parliament yesterday approved a deal struck a year ago between the EU and Switzerland to end a Swiss ban on lorries weighing over 28 tonnes. MEPs voted by a clear majority to approve the agreement, according to which the maximum weight of heavy goods vehicles permitted on Swiss roads will be increased in line with EU norms under a system involving quotas of charged permits (ENDS Daily 2 December 1998). The parliament called for minor changes to the proposed system of allocating permits in this, its first reading, and the deal will now be submitted for approval by EU governments. Under the deal, up to 250,000 40-tonne lorries will be allowed to transit Switzerland at a flat-rate charge of SFr 180 (euros 112) in from 2000. Between 2001 and 2004 the number of permits will be increased and the price of each permit will rise depending on the age of the vehicle. As of 2005 all vehicles will pay SFr 180, pending completion of a tunnel expected to transfer much freight traffic onto rail. The deal complements Switzerland's kilometre tax on lorries to be introduced in 2001 (ENDS Daily 28 September 1998). A study this year indicated that the two schemes would not stop growth in the number of freight vehicles using the country's roads (ENDS Daily 1 July).
European Parliament, tel: +32 2 284 2111.
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