Last year, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport made regulations transposing into national law of EU Directive 2009/33/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles.
This Directive requires Member States to ensure that public contracts for the procurement of road transport vehicles promote the least emitting and most energy-efficient road transport vehicles by requiring the procurer to take account of vehicle lifetime costs for energy consumption, CO2 emissions and pollutant emissions.
The regulations (S.I. No 339 of 2011 - European Communities (Clean and Energy Efficient Road Transport Vehicles) Regulations 2011) compel public sector bodies and public transport operators, including local authorities and semi-state bodies, to assess energy and environmental impacts on operational lifetime costs when making decisions regarding the purchase of road transport vehicles. They apply where a public sector body or operator is tendering for the purchase of road transport vehicles and the contract is estimated to have a value equal to or greater than the EU thresholds for supply contracts.
The energy and environmental impacts to be taken into account are energy consumption, emissions of CO2 and emissions of pollutants including oxides of nitrogen (NOx), Non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) and particulate matter (PM10). Contracting authorities, contracting entities and operators are also allowed the flexibility to, at their discretion, take into account other environmental impacts.
The requirement of the Directive to take energy and environmental impacts into account can be applied in one of three ways:
Setting technical specifications for energy and environmental performance in the documentation for the purchase of road transport vehicles e.g. authorities engaged in a procurement exercise for passenger cars could set a technical specification which required that all vehicles involved in the procurement exercise had CO2 emissions lower than a specified limit and met the Euro 5 standards for NOX, NMHC and PM10 emissions;
Using energy and environmental impacts as award criteria in a procurement procedure e.g. the purchasing authority could decide to give a weighting of, say, 25% to energy and environmental impacts and to operate a scoring scheme such that vehicles being procured were awarded higher marks for low carbon emissions, low pollutant emissions and high fuel economy.
Including energy and environmental impacts in the purchasing decision by monetising them in accordance with set methodology provided within Directive 2009/33/EC. The level of weighting to be applied to these criteria, relative to others, would remain at the discretion of the contracting body. The difference is that with this option the procuring organisations would monetise the energy and environmental impacts and consider these alongside other elements of the bid. The Directive sets out in some detail the methodology that should be applied. It requires calculating the lifetime costs for energy consumption, CO2 and other emissions of the vehicle using defined energy fuel content values, cost of emissions values and vehicle lifetime mileages.
The regulations allow any of these optional approaches provided for in the Directive to be employed in assessing energy and environmental impacts on operational lifetime costs in evaluating competing tenders. This approach provides maximum flexibility for those seeking tenders allowing them to use the methodology best suited to their particular tender size and circumstances.
For copies of the Regulations, the Directive or any further information please contact the NSTO at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport at email@example.com.
The Regulations are also available for download in the Legislation section of www.procurement.ie.