The integration of environmental considerations into all areas of policy is important to protect the environment. Environmental problems are increasingly global, with climate change and air pollution caused by similar activities around the world. Hence, there are – at least to some extent – common solutions. In 2019, the EU and China embarked on their latest Environmental Policy Dialogue under which they collaborated on greening their respective economies. Ian Skinner of TEPR contributed to a report, in the context of this Policy Dialogue, on how environmental considerations can be integrated into different sectors, and especially transport policy, drawing on lessons from the EU.  

Integrating environmental considerations into transport policy

It is increasingly recognised that in order to protect the environment, it is important to ensure that environmental considerations are fully integrated into a wide range of policies. For example, setting air quality standards will not be sufficient to reduce air pollution unless the emissions of the relevant pollutants, including from cars and lorries, are also addressed. Such integration can be much broader, including taking account of potential environmental impacts when planning transport infrastructure and when setting levels of taxation for transport fuels and vehicles.

Global challenges need global cooperation

The environmental problems to which transport contributes, particularly climate change and air pollution, are global problems. Around the world, different countries are taking action to reduce emissions and are learning what works and what does not. In the EU, environmental considerations have been increasingly integrated into transport policy over the last couple of decades. Hence, there is already experience in the EU that might be useful for other countries around the world.

The EU and China collaborate on environmental policy

The EU and China have been working together on shared environmental problems for many years in the context of successive EU-China Environmental Policy Dialogues. In recent years, this collaboration has been intensified with the focus on greening the economy so that the EU and China can take the lead globally in this area. An important element of this is the integration of environmental considerations into different policy areas, including transport.

EU experience with integrating the environment into transport policy

International consultancies GOPA and Client Earth supported the European Commission in the context of the EU-China Environmental Policy Dialogue. Ian Skinner of TEPR contributed to an In-depth study produced in the context of the Policy Dialogue by providing an overview of experience in the EU with the integration of environmental considerations into transport policy. On the basis of this analysis, and that of the current transport policy context in China, the report made recommendations for the development of Chinese transport policy. Ian (virtually) attended the final workshop of the current stage of the Dialogue, which was held in Beijing in June 2021.

Further information

TEPR is an independent research consultancy that works on projects to improve the environmental performance of transport. For more information on the project, or TEPR’s work more generally, please contact Ian Skinner at TEPR ( or see TEPR’s website, where you can also find the project’s final report.

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