PUBLISHED: 05:01, Mon, Feb 15, 2016 | UPDATED: 08:18, Mon, Feb 15, 2016
Motorists will have to pay to drive into town centres under EU guidelines to reduce global warmingCouncils are being told to introduce congestion charging and bin taxes to enable Europe to achieve its target on climate change.
The recommendations have been made by the European Commission in a guide for local and regional authorities on how to implement its Europe 2020 strategy.
The strategy, the European Union’s 10-year jobs and growth initiative, is committed to reducing greenhouse emissions by at least 20 per cent, compared to 1990 levels, by 2020.
The recommendations set out how these should be achieved.
They are being presented as a “guide”, but senior Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: “The European Commission doesn’t do guidance, it does diktats.
Councils are being told to introduce congestion chargingRELATED ARTICLES
‘Scaremongering’ Cameron claims UK exit from European Union could…
Ten ways you’ve FAILED Britain, Mr Cameron: Brexit campaigners…
“We should all be under no illusion that this is the direction of travel it wants us to go in.”
The guide sets out how local authorities can play “an important role” in collecting charges and said it was important “to ensure that local or regional taxes or charges are consistent with wider objectives”.
It continues: “Specific examples of local charging schemes that both generate local revenues and serve wider public policy objectives include: congestion charging for private car use in urban centres; charging for commercial and domestic waste collection and disposal has the advantage of ensuring the sustainability of the service and sending out a clear economic signal to polluters.”
Last night critics suggested the plan is already being put into effect, with the announcement in December, introduced without fanfare shortly before Christmas, that five English cities are to have clean air zones by 2020.
Under the plans, which are aimed at helping Britain meet its legally binding emission targets, high polluting vehicles, such as older buses, will be charged if they enter the zones. As yet private cars will not be affected.
This is another example of our EU masters trying to by-pass our so-called sovereign Parliament
MP Andrew Bridgen
The zones will target areas where the air quality is poorest in Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton.
The European Commission’s Committee of the Regions has produced the “Handbook on the Europe 2020 strategy for cities and the regions”.
The document states it is intended to provide clear explanations on how local and regional authorities can contribute to the implementation of the strategy.
It says that it is “intended to support local and regional authorities in their implementation of the strategy” and give examples of “good practice”.
Mr Bridgen said: “This is another example of our EU masters trying to by-pass our so-called sovereign Parliament by going directly to our local authorities with their edict.
Question Time: Nigel Farage on EU
Eurozone GDP growth still weak, Greece in recession again
The 500 euro note – could its days be numbered?
“There will no doubt be more of this to come if the country votes to stay in Europe at the forthcoming referendum.”
Tory MP Martin Vickers, who sits on the Transport Select Committee, added: “This is typical of the European Union and its ever increasing interference.
“Local authorities are the ones to decide whether or not to introduce congestion charging or bin taxes without the need for any guidance from Brussels.”
Mr Vickers said part of the answer to cutting emissions lay with car manufacturers who are being urged to embrace green technology, rather than raising taxes.
The EU has previously put forward proposals for Europe-wide road tolls, which could have led to British motorists being clobbered with bills potentially running into thousands of pounds a year.
Councils are being told to introduce bin taxes to enable Europe to achieve its targetGETTY
The guide sets out how local authorities can play ‘an important role’ in collecting chargesLast January, it was revealed that European Commissioner Violeta Bulc wanted to introduce a standardised driving tax across all EU member states.
Under the plans, vehicle owners would be charged for every mile driven under a high-tech scheme based on satellite-tracking systems, with all the cash going directly to Brussels before being shares out to national governments to spend on maintaining transport networks.
Last night a spokesman for the Department for Transport said the Government had no plans to extend proposals for the air quality zones to include private car drivers.
He said: “We are clear that our common sense air quality measures will not hit private car owners.
“The Government’s Air Quality Action Plan, launched in December, contains proposals to give local authorities in five city centres the power to discourage some older types of buses, coaches, taxis and lorries from entering Clean Air Zones.