A green transport plan in Denmark is set to slash CO2 emissions, relieve traffic congestion and reduce pollution. Investments are also being made to create a new high-speed rail network.
The Danish government has unveiled a radical transport plan involving €20 billion investment in the next four years to make the country's transport sector fundamentally greener. Announced in December 2008, the plan calls for a complete reassessment of both the domestic and freight transport industries in Denmark.
Denmark is particularly reliant on road transport; and contributes five tonnes of CO2 per capita annually through this sector, compared with the EU-27 average of 1.99 tonnes. Overall, Denmark emits 10.6 tonnes of CO2 per capita, while the EU-27 average is only 7.88 tonnes.
The Danish government has outlined five key actions:
Green car taxes are intended to make citizens consider CO2 emissions and energy efficiency when buying a car. The registration tax corresponds to the emission level of the car purchased. Combining such a measure with intelligent road pricing and charges will greatly decrease congestion, noise and pollution.
Another result will be an increase in demand for energy-efficient electric and hybrid cars, an area that will benefit from the new plan's funding. The Danish government has exempted electric cars from taxes until at least 2012 – leading carmakers to develop electric cars for the Danish market.
In terms of public transport, the plan places significant emphasis on rail. Two thirds of all state investment will be put into an efficient high-speed intercity network. Opting for rail rather than road will be environmentally beneficial in the long run – as indicated in the EU Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) QUANTIFY project on the climate impact of transport.
The network will fit within the framework of a wider transport system, in keeping with the concept of intermodality promoted in the EU Marco Polo programme for projects which shift freight transport from the road to sea, rail and inland waterways.
As part of Denmark's new Green Transport Plan, the Ministry of Transport has set-up the country's first centre for green transport with €38.1 million in funding over the next four years. The new institute will operate as part of the existing Road Safety and Transport Agency, but will focus on environmentally beneficial initiatives. Support will be given to programmes and technologies that help reduce the CO2 emissions of Denmark's transport sector. In particular the centre will assist work concerning energy requirements for taxis, energy labelling of vans and optimisation of aerodynamics for trucks and heavy lorries.