ANNOUNCEMENT 01 Jul 2016
On 3 June 2016, the European Commission decided not to raise objections against the Low Emissions Bus Scheme by the British government. The scheme has a total budget of GBP 30 million for the years 2016-2019. The scheme is the successor of the Green Bus Fund, in effect until 31.12.2015.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
European Commission case summary (SA.42167)
European Commission letter to the UK, 17.06.2016
According to the UK, "The Low Emission Bus Scheme (hereinafter 'LEB scheme') is the successor of the Green Bus Fund scheme approved by the Commission in 2009 [...] The LEB scheme is open to local authorities and the operators of bus companies in England and Wales (but not in Scotland) with a total budget of GBP 30 million [annual budget of GBP 10 million] and duration of 3 years starting on 1/4/2016 till 31/3/2019." (para. 3, 4 letter from the EC to the UK, Brussels 17.06.2016)
Based on the findings of the European Commission, "The Commission considers that the notified LEB scheme allows bus operators and local authorities to be relieved, by means of State resources, of a part of the costs which they would normally have to bear themselves, thereby conferring an advantage to them. In addition, the scheme strengthens the position of these enterprises in relation to their competitors in the Union and therefore, has potentially distorting effects on competition. In view of the fact that the scheme concerns a sector where undertakings from any Member State can operate, the aid is likely to affect trade between Member States." (para. 22 letter from the EC to the UK, Brussels 17.06.2016)
In the GTA database the determination of whether a policy instrument discriminates against foreign commercial interests turns on whether it creates or alters the relative treatment of domestic firms versus foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the state aid proposed here is discriminatory because the state aid is not available to competing firms outside of the implementing jurisdiction.