EUPAVE - EU AFFAIRS

December '14
Infrastructure comes to the debate of sustainable transport in the EU

 

On the 17th of December, EUPAVE held its traditional Christmas dinner in the restaurant Aux Armes de Bruxelles. The event, which gathered members and partners of the association, had as special guest the European Commission, represented by DG MOVE's Head of Unit on Research and Innovative Transport Systems, Mr Keir Fitch.

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Mr. Keir Fitch, Head of Unit on Research and Innovative Transport Systems, DG MOVE, The European Commission

Welcoming the participants, EUPAVE President Mr Stéphane Nicoud outlined the main achievements of EUPAVE in 2014. From a successful 12th International Symposium on Concrete Roads to the publication of several brochures and position papers as well as continuing to promoting the industry's interests, Mr Nicoud thanked members and staff for their engagement and efforts to complete a successful year for the association. 

Mr. Stéphane Nicoud, EUPAVE President

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President Nicoud also shared his vision on the quality of transport in the EU. Since congestion and maintenance are considered by European citizens as the most serious problems about roads in Europe, he highlighted that concrete roads are a real solution because of their low maintenance, which also means less congestion by having fewer road works, fewer interventions and fewer inconveniences to road users.

Despite changes in the European Commission, Mr Fitch assured EUPAVE that the 2011 White Paper on Transport would continue to inspire EU transport policy. He also acknowledged that infrastructure is now part of the Commission's reflection on the way to go whereas in the past it only focused on vehicles, fuels and other technologies. Challenges will include adaptation to the effects of climate change, and how to encourage take-up of innovations in infrastructure. Looking into the future, innovations such as self-guided vehicles could require road infrastructure to change radically from what we know today. As the Commission wants the transport infrastructure industry to get more involved than before in the discussions, Mr Fitch recognised that EUPAVE must and has to play a leading role in this debate.

While noting that the Commission is technology-neutral, Mr Fitch also appreciated EUPAVE's efforts in promoting sustainable transport infrastructure and was interested in knowing more about long-life cycle assessment of concrete pavements. He also explained to EUPAVE that the Commission lacks a harmonised mechanism to evaluate the sustainability of infrastructure solutions. For that reason, he insisted on maintaining close links with EUPAVE and to work together to overcome challenges.

Members of EUPAVE contributed to the debate and enjoyed a friendly evening which served to put an end to another successful year for EUPAVE.

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December '14
EEA report says EU's transport network needs to adapt to climate change

 

On 10 December 2014, the European Environment Agency (EEA) released a report entitled “Adaptation of transport to climate change in Europe”.

The report outlines the upcoming challenges and opportunities associated with the changing climate and showcases some adaptation measures already put in place across Europe. Adapting Europe's transport system is essential to the smooth functioning of society and the economy. The report points out in particular the potential pressures climate change will put on road and urban infrastructure, such as higher temperatures and extreme precipitation. Concrete pavements are well suited to respond to these effects, thanks to their durability, low maintenance and albedo (reducing the heat island effect).

 

March '14
EUPAVE LAUNCHES THE DEBATE ON SMART PAVEMENTS IN THE EU

 

Hosted by MEP Pablo Arias Echeverría, EUPAVE organized on 18 March a breakfast-debate on "Smart infrastructure: new technologies & pavements" in the European Parliament.

Opening the event, MEP Arias Echeverría welcomed a group of fifty representatives from the EU institutions (European Parliament, European Commission) and European associations and companies while highlighting the need to go for the greening of transport infrastructure. He also mentioned his interest to see how the industry could provide for good and innovative solutions for urban mobility in order to have smarter cities. ”As things are changing worldwide, we need to be innovative” he added.

Stéphane Nicoud, President of EUPAVE, pointed out that concrete pavements provide sustainable solutions for society. By referring to the forthcoming presentations as a good example, he refused to consider the road construction sector as not innovative. Nicoud thanked EUPAVE for working hard in the last years to reinvent the sector and to show that concrete pavements can help to meet transport challenges and needs while at the same time contributing to achieve important goals set at EU level.

Professor Anne Beeldens (KU Leuven) presented relevant projects demonstrating the role of concrete pavements in air purification and inductive charging of vehicles. She explained that it is possible to achieve an air-purifying effect by using TiO2 (titanium dioxide) on the concrete pavement surface and help tackling air pollution in densely populated areas and towns. She also displayed the results of a project focused on the inductive charging system of electric vehicles embedded in a pavement, while illustrating that concrete is the best material for doing that.

Professor Nele De Belie (Ghent University) presented research results on self-healing concrete. She explained the different methods and mechanisms to have concrete pavements which can “heal” themselves from road cracks. The self-healing of cracks in concrete would contribute to a longer service life of the structure and it would make concrete not only more durable but also more sustainable.

Keir Fitch (DG MOVE, European Commission) reminded about EU transport funding opportunities like Horizon 2020 or Connecting Europe Facility to help "laboratory research projects to become demonstrated in a larger scale". He also agreed on the importance on using public procurement to deploy innovation in the transport infrastructure.

Afterwards, there was a debate animated by EUPAVE's Vice-president André Burger with interesting contributions from the audience. Participants agreed that smart, green, low-maintenance and climate-resilient road infrastructure can help transforming the European transport system into a sustainable and competitive one.

 

Debate - Questions and Answers

Keir Fitch replying to questions from the audience

 

Networking after the debate

 

 

February '14
Will public tenders in Europe consider now aspects of product durability and life cycle costs?

 

The European Union has finally approved the new Directives for modernising public procurement. The new rules include: a reform of Directive 20014/17 on public procurement in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors; a reform of Directive 2004/18 on public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts, and; a new Directive on concessions. They seek to ensure greater inclusion of common societal goals in the procurement process. These goals include environmental protection, social responsibility, innovation, combatting climate change, employment, public health and other social and environmental considerations.

 

January '14
The European Commission aspires to more climate & energy targets while calls for an industrial renaissance.

 

On 22 January, the European Commission adopted two packages of initiatives concerning a long-term vision for EU climate & energy policies and a new industrial policy. Amongst all the initiatives composing such climate & energy package, the Commission has proposed to set a GHG emission reduction target for domestic EU emissions of 40% in 2030 relative to emissions in 1990 within the communication entitled "A policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030". The new EU industrial policy package contains a communication "For a European Industrial Renaissance" where the Commission urges Member States to recognise the central importance of industry for creating jobs and growth and to mainstream industry-related competitiveness concerns across all policy areas.

See all the initiatives of the EU climate & energy package here:
http://ec.europa.eu/energy/2030_en.htm
See all the initiatives of the new EU industrial policy package here:
http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/initiatives/mission-growth/index_en.htm

 

December '13
EUPAVE held a successful dinner debate with the European Commission

 

EUPAVE held a successful dinner debate with the European Commission. The association found a friend in Dominique Ristori -Director-General of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre-, who acknowledged that the EU institutions should further recognize the importance and contribution to the society's economic wellbeing of key sectors such as the concrete paving one.

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Mr. Dominique Ristori, Director-General of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (left) and Mr. Andre Burger, EUPAVE Vice-President (right)

On the 5th of December EUPAVE held its traditional annual dinner at Louise Avenue Brasserie& Restaurant in Brussels. The event had a very high-level representative from the European Union.

European Commission's Director-General for the Joint Research Centre, Mr Dominique Ristori, honoured with his presence the debate entitled "How to provide EU policies with independent, evidence-based scientific and technical support?". 

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Mr. Pierre Nicolas, the European Commission Joint Research Centre (right) and Mr. Andre Jasienski, EUPAVE Board Member

Welcoming the participants and opening the debate, Mr Andre Burger, Vice-President of EUPAVE, explained that 2013 had been an important year for the association. In addition to the achievements of EUPAVE throughout 2013 (publications, organisation of workshops, greater visibility before the EU and the preparation of the 12th International Symposium on Concrete Roads), institutional changes in the association have led to a new President and Vice-President. However, Vice-President Burger insisted that business continue as usual and that the aim of EUPAVE is still the same: to defend the benefits that concrete transport infrastructure may bring for the economy, environment and society.

Mr Ristori briefly explained the role of the Joint Research Centre. He also called for the EU to have a better recognition of those sectors that, as the concrete paving industry, turn out to be essential for economic growth and the creation of jobs. He acknowledged that the future EU budget for the period 2014-2020 gives more importance to infrastructure in general and transport one in particular.

Notwithstanding, Mr Ristori said that competitiveness must be stressed since the aim should be to shift from a low-carbon economy to a competitive one. In this sense, he claimed that political decisions should be based in solid economic analysis. Furthermore, "you cannot talk about the relaunching of the economy without recognizing your sector as a priority", he added. Considering the coming institutional changes to face by the EU in 2014, Mr Ristori expected all the EU institutions to be aligned in order to work together in favour of competitiveness.

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Members of EUPAVE actively contributed to the debate and addressed relevant issues such as industrial competitiveness, research, internal market, standards and market competition with third countries and emerging economies.

To read the press release click here.

 

December '13
The EU decides its core transport network and funding mechanism for infrastructure

 

The European Union has approved the Connecting Europe Facility. This financial instrument will fund transport infrastructure projects which are considered a priority for the EU between 2014 and 2020. The total budget for financing transport infrastructure accounts to 26.3 billion.

Moreover, the EU has also approved the new core Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). The new core network includes 9 multi-modal, cross-border and transnational corridors. It will also help to connect 94 main European ports with rail and road links and 38 key airports with rail connections into major cities. Moreover, it will help to upgrade 15,000 km of railway lines to high-speed and to facilitate 35 cross border projects to reduce bottlenecks.
For more information about the core network of the TEN-T and the maps of new infrastructure corridors in all Member States, please visit the following link:

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/infrastructure/new-core-network-key-figures_en.htm

August '13
European Court of Auditors releases a report about the well-funding of roads

 

 “Are EU Cohesion Policy funds well spent on roads?” is a report released by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) assessing whether co-financed road infrastructure projects in Germany, Greece, Poland and Spain -all of them accounting for 62% of all EU road co-financing- have achieved their objectives at a reasonable cost.

ECA calculated the total cost, total construction cost and roadway construction costs per 1000 m2 of road surface and found that there were significant differences between the EU co-financed road projects (Germany had the lowest cost per 1000 m2 in all three categories). All the road projects examined delivered savings in travel-time and improved road safety but they found that insufficient attention was paid to ensuring cost-effectiveness.  Most of the audited projects were affected by inaccurate traffic forecasts and the result was that the type of road chosen was often not best suited to the traffic it carried.  Compared to initial plans, the average cost increase was 23 % and time overruns averaged 9 months or 41 % when compared to the deadlines agreed at the outset.

For EUPAVE, it is surprising that ECA is only looking at the lowest bid and does not take into account the life cycle cost.

 

May '13
EUPAVE welcomes that transport is part of the new EU strategy for green infrastructure.

 

The European Commission adopted on 6 May 2013 a new strategy for encouraging the use of green infrastructure. The strategy focuses on promoting green infrastructure in the main policy areas, transport included. For EUPAVE, it is clear that concrete pavements must be included within those green transport infrastructures due to its important contribution to reduce road transport's carbon footprint thanks to the uptake of CO2 in the hardened concrete, the light reflectivity of a concrete surface which contributes to the cooling of our planet, and the reduced fuel consumption of heavy vehicles riding on a non-deformable pavement.

Moreover, the Commission announces that by the end of this year, it will develop guidance to show how green infrastructure can be integrated into the implementation of these policies from 2014 to 2020. The Commission also asseverates that it will set up an EU financing facility by 2014 together with the European Investment Bank to support green infrastructure projects and will carry out a study to assess the opportunities for developing an EU-wide network of green infrastructure.

 

January '13
EUPAVE participates in the High Level Strategic Forum on the “Strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises”

Upon invitation by the European Commission, EUPAVE's President Aniceto Zaragoza participated on 29th of January 2013 in the kick-off meeting of the European Commission's High Level Forum on construction.

The High Level Forum has been set up in the context of the European Commission's strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises which was adopted in July 2012. The main scope of the meeting was to discuss the priorities for the thematic groups to be established reflecting the 5 key areas of the Commission's strategy and to set a tentative calendar for their work.

The 5 thematic groups are:

Stimulating investment in renovation and innovation;

Skills and qualifications;

Sustainable use of resources;

Internal market for both products and services, and;

International competitiveness.

 

December '12
Daniel Calleja, honoured with his presence the debate entitled "Sustainability in the EU Industrial policy and in the European Construction sector" at EUPAVE Christmas Dinner.


PUTTING CONSTRUCTION AT THE HEART OF THE EU ECONOMY

EUPAVE hold a successful dinner debate on the future of the European construction sector. EUPAVE and the European Commission agreed to move faster, far, and together to make the construction sector a driver of growth and jobs.

On the 11th of December EUPAVE held its traditional Christmas dinner debate at Hotel Le Plaza in Brussels. The event, which coincided with the celebration of EUPAVE's fifth anniversary, had a very high-level representative from the EU. European Commission's Director-General for Enterprise & Industry, Mr Daniel Calleja, honoured with his presence the debate entitled "Sustainability in the EU Industrial policy and in the European Construction sector".

 

Welcoming the participants and opening the debate, Mr Aniceto Zaragoza, President of EUPAVE, congratulated the association for its fifth anniversary as well as for the important achievements and for contributing to increase the sector's visibility and representation in the EU. But despite all this success, Mr Zaragoza was sure that "EUPAVE can still do more".

"As representatives of the industry of the most frequently used material in construction, we are big defenders of sustainability. Indeed, concrete is everywhere (roads, sidewalks, buildings, bridges,...) and contributes to climate change, energy efficiency, economy, society” added Mr Zaragoza.

Mr Daniel Calleja stated that the European Commission considers construction as a crucial sector for the European economy and acknowledged that Europe needs policies which stimulate industry. “Europe cannot neglect manufacturers” said Mr Calleja. According to him, the European construction industry needs investments, standardisation and better legislation, more support to  the opening of markets in third countries, better use of the internal market and sustainability.

He also explained that the European Commission is creating a high-level group about construction with representatives from the industry, public sector and other related stakeholders. The idea is that participants of that group propose policy options for the European Commission.  Inviting EUPAVE to be part of that group , Mr Calleja declared “we have to work together to make the construction industry one of the leading sectors of our economy. We need to go fast, far and together”.  

Members of EUPAVE contributed to the debate by pointing out some of the main problems that companies face: financing, skills, excessive regulatory burden, enforcement, unfair competition for the imports.

The debate was closed with greetings for Christmas and a successful New Year.

 

November '12
Brian Simpson MEP, Chair of Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament, and EUPAVE held a successful debate on the contribution of infrastructure to road safety in the EU

CONCRETE MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN ROAD SAFETY

On the 8th of November, Brian Simpson and EUPAVE held a successful debate on the contribution of infrastructure to road safety in the EU. Participants agreed that concrete, both in-situ cast and precast, offers solutions in order to make European roads safer.

Organised at the European Parliament in Brussels and hosted by Brian Simpson, MEP and Chair of the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee, EUPAVE held a roundtable breakfast debate on the role of infrastructure in achieving the prevention of all road deaths by 2050, the so-called “VISION ZERO”.

The debate congregated more than 60 people from the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament and a large representation of road transport and construction related stakeholders.

The event focused on how road infrastructure can help to achieve this objective set by the EU and make European roads safer. Specific emphasis was placed on concrete safety barriers and the contribution of concrete products and applications to minimise work zones, increase fire safety at tunnels and obtaining safe and comfortable roads. The event was moderated by EUPAVE Vice-President, David Jones.

Opening the event, MEP and Chair of the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee, Brian Simpson stated that “Road safety is a very important issue where safety barriers really matter. I remember going to the UK Highways Agency and I saw lots of very impressive videos of vehicles crashing. And that happens every day on European roads. What would happen if other transport modes had the same safety records as roads? I am glad that EUPAVE is raising this issue.”

“There is no single solution for avoiding road fatalities and injuries. However, EUPAVE believes that infrastructure can help to make European roads safer thanks to a wide range of cement and concrete products. In this sense, it is very important to encourage authorities to make good quality and sensible investments on safe and comfortable roads” added Aniceto Zaragoza, President of EUPAVE.

James Charlesworth, Director of Extrudakerb, focused his intervention on concrete safety barriers. James Charlesworth declared “not all road barriers are the same. As a contractor, I work with both steel and concrete barriers. If you ask me which one is safer, I would go for concrete ones. But I am not the only one saying this. The UK Highways Agency publicly agrees that concrete barriers are proven to virtually eliminate crossover accidents, virtually eliminate maintenance and improve safety. The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) becomes mandatory from 1st July 2013 and will establish a European certificate of performance and safety for all road restraint systems. The Parliament, the Commission and National Authorities must work together to enforce this Regulation”.

Tappani Mikkeli, European Commission's DG ENTR Head of sector for construction, admitted that “the Commission will pursue Member States to enforce CPR and exhaust all means of actions for them to do it”. 

Managing Director of EUPAVE, Luc Rens, delivered a presentation about the contribution of concrete pavements to road safety focusing on some of its best aspects such as surface characteristics, low maintenance and other societal and social benefits.

Luc Rens said that “the European Parliament already expressed in its last resolution on road safety a need for adequate road surfaces which enhance skid resistance, climatic and meteorological performance and visibility and which require low maintenance, thereby increasing user safety. For those who do not know what a concrete road is, that is the definition of a concrete road”.

Olivier Onidi, European Commission's DG MOVE Director for Innovative and Sustainable Mobility, concluded by acknowledging that “we have done a lot of work on vehicles and technologies but we have perhaps left infrastructure out."

Mr. Onidi also added "We already have a Directive on road infrastructure safety management which only applies to roads belonging to TEN. But we should probably go beyond the TEN. If the European Parliament supports the new financial instruments proposed by the Commission, we can also make sure that stringent conditions are attached to the funding and that there will be more opportunities to funding infrastructure which complies with those conditions”.

 

October' 12
The European Commission wants to put sustainable construction at the heart of the EU economy

The European Commission has recently released a communication entitled “A stronger European Industry for Growth and Economic Recovery”. The communication's aim is to show that industry can make a major contribution to take the EU economy out of crisis. In the communication, the European Commission states that the pillars for a reinforced industrial policy are: investment in innovation; better market conditions; access to capital, and; human capital and skills.

The European Commission also proposes to focus investment and innovation on six priority action lines: advanced manufacturing technologies; key enabling technologies; bio-based products; clean vehicles; smart grids, and; sustainable industrial and construction policy and raw materials. Before the end of 2012, the European Commission will create dedicated task forces to define roadmaps for each one of these six action lines.

The European Commission is convinced that reducing costs, increasing energy efficiency and resource efficiency and reducing waste will boost the competitiveness of the construction sector. Thus, it proposes that a significant share of the EU Structural and Cohesion Funds support new investments in energy efficiency in residential and public buildings and infrastructure to make a shift towards a low-carbon economy.

Besides, the European Commission states that new European standards will be developed for sustainability criteria related to construction products and processes; as well as it announces the launch of a communication on sustainable buildings for next year and invites Member States to draw up strategies to develop low-energy buildings.


Please find the communication on this link.
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2012:0582:FIN:EN:PDF

 

September '12
Concrete roads acknowledged as a solution for a competitive and affordable EU transport system.

EUPAVE welcomes the adoption on 18th of September of the European Commission's communication “Research and innovation for Europe's future mobility - Developing a European transport-technology strategy”. The communication's aim is to speed up the deployment of new transport means and solutions to achieve a competitive and affordable European transport system.

The communication lists ten different fields of interest for which the Commission would like to focus transport research and innovation further. Smart, green, low-maintenance and climate-resilient infrastructure is one of those ten fields. The communication foresees that “new infrastructure (in the EU) will be characterised by climate-resilience, shorter downtime and low maintenance costs”.

For EUPAVE, it is clear that concrete roads can help the EU to achieve its sustainability goals and make benefits for the environment, economy and society. 

Environment benefits
Concrete roads can help to reduce road transport's carbon footprint thanks to the uptake of CO2 in the hardened concrete, the light reflectivity of a concrete surface which contributes to the cooling of our planet, and the reduced fuel consumption of heavy vehicles riding on a non-deformable pavement.

Economic benefits
Investing in concrete roads is not so expensive in the long term. Even though concrete roads have a slightly more expensive initial cost than other types of roads, they last longer, require minimal maintenance and offer high level of availability over the longest possible lifetime. Moreover, they can stand up to the worst that the seasons, weather and climate can throw at it; and due to concrete's lighter surface, its superior reflectivity makes possible to achieve savings in the costs of lighting streets and motorways. Needless to say that cement's price is more stable than other materials used in road construction.

Social benefits
People do not want to be delayed by road works during the construction, repair or maintenance of roads. Thus, concrete roads can help to reduce congestion as they need low maintenance, which means fewer road works, fewer interventions and fewer nuisances to road users. Besides, they offer smooth surfaces to drive on and enhance road safety thanks to some of their best characteristics such as skid resistance, aquaplaning and visibility.

 

September '12
The competitiveness of the European construction sector is a political priority for the EU

On 31st of July 2012, the European Commission adopted a Communication on a strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises. The communication is a non-legislative document which acknowledges construction as a crucial sector for the European economy, generating almost 10% of EU GDP and providing 20 million jobs. The European Commission believes that competitiveness in the construction sector can significantly influence the development of the overall economy. Thus, the competitiveness of construction companies is an important issue, not only for growth and employment in general but also to ensure the sector's sustainability. The strategy is based on the following five areas: stimulating investment conditions, improving workers' qualifications, improving environmental performance, strengthening the functioning of the single market and promoting European businesses on a globalised market.

With this communication, the European Commission wishes to place emphasis on support for growth and jobs in the short term and to restructure the sector by providing an appropriate regulatory framework for a transition to a low-carbon economy in the longer term. The strategy also provides the creation of a High Level Forum which would bring together the European Commission, Member States and industry representatives to oversee the implementation of the strategy and make recommendations on any necessary adjustments or new initiatives to be launched.

In December's EUPAVE Christmas dinner, EUPAVE will have the opportunity to discuss this strategy and other EU issues of interest with Mr Daniel Calleja Crespo, European Commission's Director-General for Enterprise, responsible for the construction sector. The traditional Christmas dinner is unique opportunity to contact European decision-makers in person, and is restricted to EUPAVE members.

 

March '12
Successful debate on “Concrete pavements contribute to decarbonising of transport” with the European Parliament and the European Commission

EUPAVE held a successful debate on “Concrete pavements contribute to decarbonising of transport” on 21st of March 2012 at the Renaissance Brussels Hotel with participants from EUPAVE members and stakeholders. The event focused on the potential contribution of concrete roads to reduce GHG emissions from road freight transport.

Mr. David Jones, Vice-President of EUPAVE, welcomed the participants and officially handed out the latest EUPAVE Brochure “Concrete pavements contribute to decarbonising of transport” to MEP Philippe De Backer (ALDE, Belgium), from the European Parliament's Committee on Transport & Tourism.

MEP Philippe De Backer opened the debate with a speech strengthening the role that road transport plays in the transport system and emphasizing the importance of transport infrastructure for the well-functioning of the internal market and economy in Europe.

Mrs. Charlotte Milachowski, from the Centre for Building Materials, Technische Universität München- Germany, delivered a presentation on the life cycle assessment for road construction and use. According to Mrs. Milachowski, the potential environmental impact due to the service period on the motorways is 100 times more than due to the construction process. Moreover, Mrs. Milachowski emphasised the effect of pavement surface structure on fuel consumption.

Mr. Luc Rens, Managing Director of EUPAVE, presented EUPAVE's latest brochure “Concrete pavements contribute to decarbonising of transport”. Mr. Rens highlighted the joint conclusion that fuel consumption is lower on concrete pavements compared to other type of pavements in a range of about 1 to 6 %. In this sense, Rens insisted that concrete pavements are the most favourable option in terms of life-cycle cost and defended that they also constitute an easy and effective solution in the decarbonising of freight road transport.

Finally, Mr. Jan Szulczyk, from the Land Transport Unit in the European Commission's Directorate-General for Mobility & Transport, outlined the European Commission's vision and strategy for the future of transport. That strategy, which is defined in the European Commission's 2011 White Paper, intends to build a competitive transport system and cut carbon emissions in transport by 60% by 2050. From what Mr. Szulczyk explained, it is clear that concrete roads can effectively help the European Commission to achieve its targets on road transport decarbonisation.

After the presentations and discussion, Mr. David Jones, Vice-President of EUPAVE, concluded the event by stating that sustainable infrastructure in general and concrete pavements in particular can already make a difference when addressing some of the current and future transport challenges and needs.

The programme closed with a networking cocktail. 

 

December '11
EUPAVE holds a successful Christmas dinner debate on “How to address sustainability in new transport infrastructure contracts in the EU?”

On December 13, 2011, Mr. Helmut Morsi, European Commission Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, Deputy Head of Unit Trans European Networks and Investment Strategy and Head of Sector OMC TENtec & Innovation, honoured the EUPAVE Christmas dinner debate at Hotel Metropole in Brussels.

Mr. Aniceto Zaragoza, President of EUPAVE, opened the debate with a short speech on EUPAVE's activities and substantive intention for active cooperation. He concluded his speech by appreciating the European Commission's support for the sustainable and climate resilient infrastructure. 

Mr. Helmut Morsi gave a speech on “Trans European Networks and Investment Strategy”. He pointed out that the Connecting Europe Facility will invest 31.7 billion to upgrade Europe's transport infrastructure.

He also explained that Trans-European Transport (TEN-T) Network consists of two layers: a core network to be completed by 2030 and a comprehensive network to be completed by 2050. The new core TEN-T network will close the missing links and remove bottlenecks. The core network will be supported by a comprehensive network of routes, feeding into the core network at regional and national level.

Mr.Morsi drew particular attention to the application of “New technologies and innovation” (TEN-T guidelines Article 39) in the comprehensive network. This network must keep up with the state-of-the-art technological developments and deployments, aiming to, amongst others:

enable the decarbonisation of transport,

improve resilience to climate change.

It is clear that concrete has an answer to these challenges.

A major innovation on the new TEN-T guidelines is the introduction of 10 corridors on the core network. These corridors will be governed through corridor platforms, which bring all relevant stakeholders and the Member States concerned together.

As Mr. Morsi finished, he invoked EUPAVE's contribution to European Commission's forthcoming projects.

Afterwards, a lively discussion took place with questions and statements by several EUPAVE members and reactions from Mr. Morsi.

The Christmas dinner debate was closed with greetings for Christmas and a successful New Year.

 

November '11
Initiatives of interest for EUPAVE in the European Commission's work programme for 2012

The European Commission unveiled its plans for 2012 on the 15th of November of 2011. With the adoption of its work programme for 2012, the Commission establishes which legislative and non-legislative initiatives are planned to be adopted for the next year. Within all the initiatives, there are some which are potentially interesting for Eupave. The work programme and its annex can be found on the Commission's website.

Thus, the Commission plans a framework directive for the European Research Area (ERA), whose adoption is foreseen by June 2012. This would be the basis for achieving strategic policy coherence and coordination between EU and Member States, with the aim to increase the efficiency of the European research system through better exploiting the potential for cross-border synergies and complementarities (e.g. research infrastructures).

In an EU critical infrastructures package foreseen by the fourth quarter of 2012, the review of the European Programme on Critical infrastructure and the identification and designation of European critical infrastructures are included. According to the current Council directive 2008/114/EC, “critical infrastructure means an asset, system or part thereof located in Member States which is essential for the maintenance of vital societal functions, health, safety, security, economic or social well-being of people, and the disruption or destruction of which would have a significant impact in a Member State as a result of the failure to maintain those functions”.

A European Accessibility Act to improve the accessibility of goods and services is expected to be adopted by September 2012. The initiative will include binding measures to promote procurement and harmonisation of accessibility standards to the physical environment, transportation, information and communications technologies and systems (ICT), and other facilities and services.

Since the new White Paper on transport -adopted in March 2011- emphasises the need to break the transport system's dependency on oil, a legislative/non-legislative initiative called “Clean power for transport: An alternative fuel strategy” is expected in 2012. It would identify possible EU actions to stimulate the use of EU alternative fuels and provide the industry, public sector and consumers with a clear and coherent vision on the market developments of alternative fuel transport systems.

For 2013, a Strategy for reducing Heavy Duty - Vehicles' CO2 emissions is expected. The aim is to address the problem of the growing CO2 emissions from heavy duty vehicles. Finally, an Internal Market Road package is foreseen for 2013. The initiative consists of four measures. One of them is called " Charging systems for road vehicles " and its aim is to promote a more systematic use of distance related road charging reflecting infrastructure and external costs based on the polluter-pays and user-pays principle.

 

September '11
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, IN FAVOUR OF CONCRETE !

The European Parliament has recently approved a resolution on European road safety 2011-2020. In that resolution, passed on Tuesday 27 September, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) proposed over one hundred measures to improve road safety in the European Union. Within all the measures, recommendations and actions that the resolution asks for, there are several ones which benefit concrete.

Thus, the resolution considers infrastructure as an important part in the EU strategy to halve road accidents by 2020 because “it reiterates that a well-preserved road infrastructure contributes to reducing fatalities and injuries of road users”. Besides, the European Parliament acknowledges the benefits of concrete roads since it “emphasises the need for adequate road surfaces which enhance skid resistance, climatic and meteorological performance, and visibility and which require low maintenance, thereby increasing infrastructure user safety”. Concrete roads totally fit all those requirements.

The resolution also calls on the Commission to identify, and on the Member States to implement, suitable measures to prevent accidents in tunnels and to reduce the damage they cause. As EUPAVE has always been defending, concrete is the best solution in tunnels due to fire safety reasons. Concrete safety barriers would also be favoured in this text since the European Parliament “recommends the use of road safety barriers with smooth surfaces”, which is one of the concrete safety barriers' best characteristics.

Last but not least, the European Parliament has included road maintenance workers within the category of vulnerable road users which need to be better protected. For EUPAVE, investing in roads which require low maintenance such as concrete ones is the best way to protect road maintenance workers. Therefore, the resolution is definitely good news for EUPAVE and it is a huge success in our strategy outlining and defending the benefits of concrete in the EU.

 

August '11
EUPAVE APPEARS IN EUROPEAN COMMISSION DG MOVE REPORT ON PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON "STRATEGIC TRANSPORT TECHNOLOGY PLAN"

DG MOVE recently published a report about the results of the public consultation on the Strategic Transport Technology Plan (STPP) in which EUPAVE submitted its comments on May 2011. Please find hereby attached the report.
In Annex II of the report (page 24), EUPAVE appears as one of the organisations which participated on this public consultation.

Besides, EUPAVE Brochure “Concrete roads: a smart and sustainable choice” has been included as an additional contribution together with other contributions by other important European associations. You can check all additional contributions by downloading the “Additional contributions” file (23 MB) on DG MOVE's website (here). 

 

24 June '09
EUPAVE joins ERTRAC

The Plenary Meeting of ERTRAC approved EUPAVE's application for membership.

ERTRAC, the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council, was established to mobilise all stakeholders, develop a shared vision, and ensure timely, co-ordinated and efficient application of research resources to meet the continuing challenges of road transport and European competitiveness.

www.ertrac.org

 

17 June '09
Future of the EU Transport policy: good music for EUPAVE's ears

On June 17th, 2009, the European Commission has adopted a communication on the future of transport with a view to promote a more accessible, integrated and environmental friendly transport system. Within this context, cement and concrete applications on transport infrastructures, as they offer relevant advantages fitting the main objectives of the communication (road safety, fuel consumption, durability, and congestion relief) will be in a privileged position to contribute to achieve EU transport goals over the next decade. A public consultation for stakeholders is open until the end of September 2009. Afterwards, the Commission will put forward proposals in a new White Paper due in 2010.

The new communication suggests operational objectives in seven main areas as described below. According to the Commission's communication, these are the structural axes that will allow the EU to face the main transport challenges such as population ageing, scarcity of fossil fuels, migratory flows and climate change.

Safe and secure transport: improving the overall quality of transport with special attention to the reduction of accidents, personal security, accessibility and passenger's rights. Infrastructure has to be built, maintained and upgraded on the principle of accessibility to all.

Better maintenance and integration: coordination of transport network must be ensured from infrastructures (such as rail and road), to administrative procedures, information and communication technologies. Infrastructure should be well maintained, and improvement works coordinated in order to reduce accidents, operating costs, congestion, pollution and noise. New infrastructure should be planned with a view to maximising account socio-economic benefits taking into account externalities and effects on the total network.

Improving environmental performance: transport should tend towards lower consumption of non-renewable fuels, reduction of air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and noise. In the longer term, all elements should be taken into account for operation of transport means and infrastructure (land occupancy, bio-diversity, etc).

Better services and innovation: technological innovation will be the main contributor to resolving the challenges shaping up in the transport sector, such as increasing security and safety, reduce the sector's impact on the environment, or making the best use of existing infrastructure. To meet such needs, it is important for the EU to step up productivity, mainly by investing more in research and development.

Protecting human capital: to avoid losing jobs because of adjustments to be made due to the current energy and economic context. The crisis must be managed in a way that new value-added work posts can be created in the sector.

Intelligent prices: introduction of differentiated and incentive tariffs depending on the use of less polluting modes of transport or infrastructure outside peak hours. New tariffs should allow citizens to choose the mode of transport that suits them best, being the most competitive and affordable.

Improving accessibility: passengers should benefit from easier access to transport means thanks to better planning of ground space, decentralisation and greater account taken of their needs during the planning process.

In a context of financial and economic crisis, the Commission recommends a self-financing system for the sector, with additional revenue expected through better tax collection on energy (fuel taxes) or on vehicles (i.e. charges for heavy vehicles). The same strategy could be implemented for infrastructure, mainly through application of levies for congestion.

 

3 June '08
EUPAVE's introduction in the EU institutions

On Tuesday 3 June '08, EUPAVE organised in collaboration with Alonso Asociados a lunch meeting in the European Parliament.

Introducing EUPAVE as newborn association to such a distinguished audience which included representatives from the main EU institutions was the principal reason to organise this meeting.

 

Short speeches were given by:

Mr. Aniceto Zaragoza, President of EUPAVE,

Mr. Jean-Pierre Jacobs, Managing Director of EUPAVE and

Mrs. Inés Ayala Sender, member of the Commission Transport & Tourism in the European Parliament.

 

The lunch meeting took place in a very friendly and convivial ambience...

 

 

Early 2008
EUPAVE - ERF

EUPAVE became member of the ERF - IRF BPC only a few months after its constitution.

The European Union Road Federation (ERF), the Brussels Programm Centre (BPC) of the International Road Federation (IRF), is a non-profit association which coordinates the views and concerns of Europe's road sector.

www.irfnet.eu