A Green Transport Strategy for 2018 to 2050 has been published by the Department of Transport, and stipulates upcoming taxes and changes to existing levies. The strategy outlines plans for the rail, road and aviation sectors, as well as South Africa’s international commitments to reduce its carbon emissions.
“Road infrastructure is affected by several factors, but most importantly environmental factors, the volume of vehicles and the weight of the vehicles on the road,” the department says in the published document. “All roads are built with an intended life cycle, but with the impact of the traffic load, as well as the environment (heat, cold, rainfall etc.), the deterioration rate is accelerated.”
The department will have to prepare regulatory actions to encourage and hasten the shift from road to rail, and private vehicle use to that of public transport.
New levies and taxes will then be implemented to ensure that this happens, and changes will be made to levies that already exist. These will include:
The department says that it will prioritise the development of regulatory and policy frameworks for levying a congestion charge on vehicles entering central business hubs on a daily basis.
It also says of the suggestion of the congestion zone tax: “Congestion zone taxing, however, will require supporting infrastructure – park and rides, integrated eco-mobility transport facilities, as well as bike and car share scheme development.”
In consultation with the National Treasury, the department will review the current levels of the environmental levy on motor vehicle CO2 emissions, and may increase this tax to include commercial vehicles.
The department also plans to develop a regulatory regime in consultation with National Treasury for the annual taxing of vehicles based on their emissions through the annual car licensing renewal system.
“The test certificate will need to be produced every three years of car licensing renewal,” it says. “The test scores will be used to adjudicate a price relative to safety and emissions performance.”
The use of vehicle fuel economy standards to categorise vehicles in terms of their fuel efficiency and emission standards will continue as they currently are.
“Baseline studies on the implementation of more stringent fuel economy standards (such as Euro V) should lead to the adoption of appropriate greener standards,” the department says.
The department will develop environmentally friendly standards and guidelines for road construction, maintenance and upgrades.
“This will include standards and guidelines on climate change resilient materials,” it says.