Garbage Barge, European Style

Monday, May 10, 2004

The European Commission decided today to authorise a Belgium Flemish scheme to promote domestic waste transport through inland waterways. The project will offset the additional costs of transporting domestic waste by inland waterway rather than by road.

In Flanders, the municipalities and, by delegation, the local authorities' agencies have a statutory responsibility to collect and dispose of domestic waste from their territory. At present, all municipalities and local authorities in Flanders transport domestic waste by road. The transport of domestic waste by inland waterway rather than by road would impose additional costs that are mainly due to the handling installations necessary (in particular, the container cranes).

Under the notified scheme, the Flemish Region will subsidize the acquisition of cranes for the municipalities and local authorities' agencies which will benefit from a preferential concessionary fee for the transport of domestic waste. Without this initiative, the local authorities' agencies are likely to continue to transport their domestic waste by road.

The waterway authority in Flanders, N.V. Zeekanaal en Watergebonden Grondbeheer Vlaanderen (NVZ(1)) has been commissioned by the Flemish Region to manage the implementation of the initiative. The duration of the project is fixed to coincide with the service life of the cranes. The budget will amount to € 7.432 million.

The Commission has concluded that the aid scheme is compatible with the Treaty on the basis of Article 87 (3 c).

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