IRU backs EU lorry park plan, but calls for more “targeted measures”
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The IRU has given its backing to the EU plan to spend €250 million of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funds to improve the EU's network of safe and secure parking areas (SSTPAs).
In a statement, the IRU stressed it has repeatedly called for the funding and welcomes the availability of these important resources.
However, the organisation adds that “despite encouraging progress, the absorption of the 2021 funds was not ideal”.
“As the situation continues to be critical and there remains a significant shortfall of parking spaces across Europe, new solutions are needed to attract successful projects,” notes the IRU.
In the opinion of the IRU, to efficiently use the CEF funding, the EU should consider “a broader scope for the eligible projects, such as the extension of the funding for SSTPAs located on the comprehensive network of the Trans-European Transport Network, in future calls for proposals. Currently, numerous potential projects located on the comprehensive network are left outside the scope.”
“This second EU call for proposals for safe and secure parking builds upon last year’s call and is a unique opportunity for the sector. While we welcome much-needed financial support to help with building new, or upgrading existing, parking areas, certain criteria must be closely reviewed to maximise the utilisation of the funds. For example, the comprehensive network should be included in the scope of the funding, the percentage of private co-funding required should be decreased, and there needs to be an updated map of locations in need of safe and secure parking,” says Raluca Marian, the IRU’s EU Advocacy Director.
The IRU also believes a revision of the private co-funding requirements should be considered. Depending on the location of the parking areas, the amount of private co-funding required could reach up to 80%, the IRU states. This, it is said, makes the application less attractive for many players.
Moreover, according to the IRU, the need to improve the eligibility criteria is “doubled by the necessity to map the locations across Europe that are in dire need of SSTPAs to ensure that EU funding is allocated in a targeted and strategic manner.”
The IRU rounded off its statement by pledging to continue working closely with all stakeholders to support EU truck parking standards and to promote the creation of new and upgraded SSTPAs across Europe.