The Western Balkan countries - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia - are looking at best practice in sustainable transport and emissions policy from the rest of Europe. To provide support for this, the World Bank commissioned a study: Policy Instruments for Managing Road Vehicle Emissions in the Western Balkans, funded by the Climate Support Facility (CSF). With Ricardo's known track record in advising the EU on sustainable transport, air quality and vehicle life cycle assessment, we were a good fit for the countries to provide expert policy guidance.
Total greenhouse gas emissions from road transport in the Western Balkans - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia - are increasing exponentially. The rise in emissions is being driven not only by an increased rate of motorisation rate but also by heavy dependency on second-hand vehicles.
Therefore, the Western Balkans countries are actively looking at best practice in sustainable transport and emissions reduction policy and implementation from the European Union. This is with a view to adopting and implementing ‘best in class’ policy in their region to cut emissions from road vehicles. Here, Harry Scammell explains how Ricardo experts have applied their knowledge of evaluating sustainable transport, air quality and vehicle life cycle assessment policies, plus emissions modelling, to support the countries with expert policy guidance.
Ricardo policy experts have been identifying and evaluating vehicle emission policies in the six Western Balkan countries, including a deep dive into North Macedonia, to provide an evidence-based prioritisation of policy action for the region and an assessment of enabling measures for successful implementation.
With our partner BSI, we were selected by the World Bank to characterise the existing road transport sector in terms of vehicle industry, passenger and freight road vehicle data, and greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption; perform a governance review for each country; identify and evaluate policy measures at a regional level; and undertake a deep dive of policy packages for North Macedonia.
The purpose of our work for the World Bank was to enable the Western Balkans to meet their three key goals:
- Understand the institutional, regulatory, social, and economic challenges and opportunities of reforming the management or road vehicle emissions in the region
- Identify policy and regulatory measures to improve the environmental performance of road vehicle fleets in the region
- Develop a road vehicle environmental policy roadmap, clearly oriented towards implementation, for one country to serve as a template for other countries in the region
For this World Bank study, in providing our expert policy evaluation and emissions modelling consultancy to the Western Balkans, we took the following four-step approach:
- We characterised the road vehicle fleet and related energy markets in the Western Balkans. This included analysis of vehicle markets and industry, analysis of the fuel and electricity markets related with road transport, and quantitative analysis of vehicle stocks, flows and related energy/emissions utilising Ricardo’s internal SUstainabLe TrANsport (SULTAN) policy modelling tool
- We characterised the institutional, policy and legal framework associated with road vehicle fleets in the region. This required a review of institutional, policy and legal frameworks in each of the six countries to ascertain the functions of each responsible government administration in setting, modifying and enforcing relevant policies, rules and standards to manage vehicle emissions
- We identified and evaluated policies and measures to improve emission performance of road vehicle fleets in the region. This mainly consisted of prioritising policies and measures against criteria such as environmental impact, value for money, and ease of implementation. These findings were shared at a World Bank regional workshop to build a consensus on the policy prioritisation
- We undertook a deep-dive into the selected policy packages for North Macedonia. Our in-house SULTAN model was used to provide impacts on vehicle activity, powertrain choice, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants based on policies around vehicle tax for less fuel-efficient vehicles, fuel tax, regulating second-hand vehicle imports and encouraging electric vehicle (EV) adoption for fleets
Screening of policy measures: Our identification of policy measures for the Western Balkans region took stock of the policy landscape in the region. It incorporated best practice from relevant countries, and analysed gaps with the EU transport and energy policy framework. Policy measures were then screened considering environmental, economic and equity impacts, along with ease of implementation. As a result, 34 policy measures were shortlisted and grouped into policy packages.
Policy recommendations for Western Balkan countries: Our evaluation of policy packages provided an evidence-based prioritisation of policy action for the region and an assessment of enabling measures for a successful implementation. We identified three prioritised actions:
- Top priority action should include pollutant and CO2 emission control policies for second-hand vehicles and the introduction of a mandate on the share of electric vehicles in public and eventually also private fleets
- High priority action should include a roll-out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and an update on vehicle and fuel taxes and a reform of roadworthiness procedures
- Medium priority action should include the introduction of emission control policies for new vehicles
Policy recommendations for international stakeholders: The study also resulted in recommended actions for international stakeholders such as the EU, Transport Community and the World Bank.
Summing up the efficacy of the work for the Western Balkans, Lorenzo Casullo, Director of Sustainable Transport at Ricardo said: “Working with the World Bank and our partner BSI, we have provided a blueprint for policy action to reduce transport emissions in the Balkans. Our deep dive in North Macedonia shows that these actions can be readily implemented and we look forward to supporting the region further to achieve these ambitious goals.”
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