Travel: a guilty pleasure or a daily necessity? Either way, transport is integral to today’s society. We support the development of policies that minimise the impacts of mobility demand on the environment. In particular, we work to bring environmental and sustainability considerations into transport policy. We have a wealth of experience in road transport and fuel issues, and have also worked on aspects of rail, aviation and shipping. Fuel quality, car performance standards, consumer information, lifestyle choices and economic incentives have all featured in our recent work.

Cars and CO2
We were influential in the development of EU standards for the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from cars:


Contributing to the Commission’s early CO2 Strategy for Passenger Cars. We produced guidelines for monitoring data, as well as a template and database for the collection and collation of Member State data on the emissions of CO2 from new passenger cars.

Business Impact Assessment: IEEP led a contract for the Commission on a business impact assessment of measures to reduce CO2 from passenger cars. This looked at the potential role of technical standards, grouping of and trading between manufacturers and their relative economic, environmental and consumer impacts. This was part of the process of moving towards CO2 legislation to encourage innovation and CO2 reduction in vehicles.

In addition, two of our staff members sit on an EU high level working group CARS 21 (Competitive Automotive Regulatory System for the 21st century). The CARS 21 is a process launched by the European Commission in 2005 aiming to make recommendations for public policy and regulatory framework of the European automotive industry.

Sustainability of biofuels policy

Biofuels have gained increasing momentum both politically and commercially over recent years. If they are to be a truly sustainable alternative to conventional transport fuels, biofuels policy must take account of the potential environmental, social and economic side-effects. We work with both the EU and the NGO community on this issue. We are involved in the development of sustainability criteria for biofuels.

Read more about our work on biofuels.


Much of our work has been concerned with the more technical side of transport, but we do not neglect the significant link between transport and lifestyle. An IEEP report for Greenpeace examined the impacts of travel patterns in the UK on climate change and obesity, focussing on the decline of walking as a mode of transport. A study carried out for the European Parliament looked at the effectiveness of environmental labelling of new cars in influencing consumer decisions.

Aviation, rail and shipping

IEEP’s work on non-road transport includes:

In relation to aviation we have provided advice on the policy implications of its impacts on the upper atmosphere, led inputs into discussions on aviation charging in the UK and organised a workshop on the inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and its environmental, competitiveness and legal consequences.

We have provided environmental support to the UK Strategic Rail Authority in the shape of briefings on the environmental performance of the rail sector and a review of environmental policy developments in relation to railways. We have looked at rail in the context of sustainable development. We have examined the feasibility of expanding an EU-wide emissions trading scheme for nitrous oxides and sulphur dioxide (NOx and SO2) to include shipping.