Transport firms working in France must report carbon

UK companies taking passengers and goods into France must be able to report how much carbon is being generated by each journey, under new reporting rules

As of 1 October, all organisations providing transport services in France are required by law to inform their clients of the carbon footprint of journeys.

Article 14 of French Decree 2011-1336, which has now come into force, mandates carbon reporting for passenger and freight transport services in line with article L1431-3 of the French Transport Code, and follows the publication of emissions factors in April 2012.

Don Armour, international manager at the UK’s Freight Transport Association, said the new rules will be a challenge for businesses, particularly logistics firms delivering to more than one client during a single journey.

“If, for example, a lorry with 20 tonnes of cargo travels from Manchester, stopping at Paris to deliver half the load to one client, then Clermont-Ferrand to deliver 3 tonnes to a second client and, finally to Toulose to deliver the remaining goods, how does the firm calculate how much of the emissions produced by the lorry on that journey is attributable to each of the customers?” he asks.

“That’s the sort of scenario that the transport operator could be asked about, and it could be quite difficult to answer.”

While software options are available to help firms track vehicles and calculate emissions, Armour believes it will take some time before companies are comfortable the new reporting rules.

“It’s probably going to be workable in the end,” he said, “but it’s going to be painful to begin with and it’s going to bring additional costs.”

The introduction of mandatory carbon reporting for transport services, followed confirmation from the French government that the introduction of its new road tax on heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will be postponed for a second time, until January 2014.

The so-called “ecotax” is the first of its kind in Europe and will charge drivers of HGVs weighing more than 3.5 tonnes for using the main trunk roads in France, with the funds generated spent on initiatives to lower emissions from transport, such as through improving the railways. 

The levy will affect 800,000 vehicles travelling across France, 200,000 of which will be from outside the country, and cost, on average, €0.12-€0.14 per km.

The tax was due to be introduced in April this year, but has suffered setbacks due to complications with IT systems to administer the scheme and with registering vehicles. 


Sarah-Jayne Russell was the deputy editor of the environmentalist from March 2011 until June 2014.

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