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The Brenner Pass: transit trouble

Record-high of trucks crossing the Brennerpass: How much transit traffic can the Alps tolerate? © MartinPutz_wikimedia commons

The year 2017 saw record numbers of trucks crossing the Brenner Pass. Now there is an opportunity to find a solution to the problem.

No fewer than 2.25 million articulated vehicles and trucks crossed the Brenner Pass between Austria and Italy in 2017: a record for the entire Alpine region of which no one is proud – except possibly the freight lobby, which has now threatened Austria with claims for damages due to delays caused by convoy controls. In Germany the planning for a rail access route to the future Brenner Base Tunnel has stalled, while the expansion of the autobahn to six lanes all the way to the Austrian border is being discussed.

The Governor of Tyrol, Günther Platter, has been making strong statements of late. This situation cannot continue, he said at the beginning of April 2018 in agreement with the Austria-Tirol transit forum on the occasion of the “Future Day Tyrol” held in Innsbruck: “There must be a limit to the free of movement of goods where there is a risk to public health.” Since 2018 the Austrian State of Tyrol has held the Presidency of Eusalp, the EU’s macro-regional strategy for the Alpine region.

The Chairman of CIPRA Austria, Peter Hasslacher, takes such statements with a pinch of salt. He was pleased that the topic was addressed, but now believes that courageous steps are needed alongside painful measures. “But if not everyone pulls together along the entire route from Rosenheim to Verona, then there is no point.” The problem is that the Eusalp Presidency changes annually – and thus so do its interests. “Only the application of the Alpine Convention legally obliges the Alpine states and the EU to prioritise health over the free movement of goods.” The next step in this direction can be taken by the countries and regions at the transit summit to be held on 12 June in the Italian city of Bolzano.


Sources: (de), (de),, (de), (de), (de), (it)