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New EU rules - Europe-wide driving bans for coaches?

The EU's new proposals are so strict that they will not promote climate-friendly bus transport, but will effectively ban it. If more cars are used for long-distance travel again, even low emission zones on motorways are conceivable.

The EU Commission will today present its plans for more environmental protection in the transport sector. Among other things, the proposal includes a regulation that could soon mean the end of long-distance buses. This is because the Commission around President Ursula von der Leyen wants to make bus journeys of up to 300 km (500 km in another proposal) emission-free from 2030. On paper, this seems a laudable environmental objective.

However, as this requirement is purely technical but not feasible, the proposal effectively bans such coach travel. And that although they are the most climate-friendly alternative on the roads. Thus, citizens who would normally take the bus for longer journeys are urged to drive themselves, or even to fly. Both are significantly more environmentally harmful alternatives with higher greenhouse gas emissions. According to Karl Hülsmann, President of the Federal Association of German Bus and Coach Operators (bdo), the proposal will clearly set back climate protection in transport. "These plans are a drastic threat to the environment, as they would exclude the mobility option with the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, of all options".

With an increase in traffic on the motorways, an expansion of low emission zones outside the cities in Germany would not be unthinkable. This is already the case in some areas of Austria and France. Certainly, traffic in urban areas will also continue to increase as people travel more by car.

So it seems, similar to the new Euro-Norm 7, that the EU is working against its own climate targets with targets that cannot be implemented in reality. Certainly, a moderate tightening of emissions also makes sense for buses, but impossible targets are clearly counterproductive. Citizens will have to bear the consequences of the decisions when new low emission zones and driving bans are introduced.