Government proposes legislative amendments to specify the requirements of wellbeing services counties to purchase low-emission vehicles
The Government proposes amendments to the Act on Environmental and Energy Efficiency Requirements for Vehicle and Transport Service Procurements. With the health and social services reform, the requirements assigned to municipalities under the current Act will transfer to the wellbeing services counties, which are about to start operating on 1 January 2023. The Government submitted its proposal to Parliament on 10 November 2022.
The wellbeing services counties will take over the healthcare, social welfare and rescue services duties from the municipalities on 1 January 2023. The proposal aims to determine the minimum requirements for the counties' procurement of vehicles and transport services. The proposal does not add any new requirements to the Act. The number of zero and low-emission vehicles purchased nationally would remain the same as under the current Act.
The Act, which entered into force in August 2021, places obligations on local and central government to ensure a certain proportion of zero and low-emission vehicles and transport services in public procurement. The requirements laid down in the Act already apply to wellbeing services counties, with the exception of certain vehicles intended for special use, such as passenger cars intended for wheelchair users, ambulances or emergency vehicles.
The current Act does not specify the requirements of the wellbeing services counties, the City of Helsinki and HUS Group, the joint authority for Helsinki and Uusimaa. Therefore, the general statutory requirement level would largely apply to the procurement by any contracting entity; in other words, without a legislative amendment the same requirement level would apply to all wellbeing services counties.
Counties' requirements would be staggered regionally
The current Act lays down different minimum requirements for municipalities based on their special regional circumstances. The new requirements for the counties would be based on the current statutory requirements for municipalities, and the proposal would not introduce tighter requirements.
The minimum requirements for the county-level procurement of vehicles and transport services would be divided into three categories according to regional circumstances, including distances, financial capacity, availability of charging points for electric vehicles and the state of the taxi market. The requirement level of 20, 35 or 45 per cent would determine the proportion of low-emission passenger cars and light commercial vehicles out of the new purchases.
1. The highest level of 45 per cent would apply to the wellbeing services counties of South Karelia, East Uusimaa, Kanta-Häme, Central Finland, Central Uusimaa, Kymenlaakso, West Uusimaa, Pirkanmaa, Päijät-Häme, Satakunta, Southwest Finland, Vantaa and Kerava, the City of Helsinki and HUS Group.
2. The middle level of 35 per cent would apply to the wellbeing services counties of South Ostrobothnia, Lapland, Ostrobothnia, North Karelia, North Ostrobothnia and North Savo.
3. The minimum level of 20 per cent would apply tothe wellbeing services counties of South Savo, Kainuu and Central Ostrobothnia.
The current national requirement levels would apply to the wellbeing services counties' procurement of lorries and M3 category buses.
Clearer requirements for joint municipal authorities and municipality-owned companies
The Act would lay down unambiguous provisions on the obligations placed on joint municipal authorities and municipality-owned companies. As a rule, the municipality's level of requirement would apply to the purchase of vehicles by a joint municipal authority or a municipality-owned company.
If the municipalities in the operating area of a joint municipal authority or municipality-owned company had different requirement levels, the draft act would define the applicable levels by vehicle category. The county level would apply to passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, and the national level would apply to lorries. If a contracting entity included municipalities across several counties, the average of the counties' requirement levels would apply.
EU aims for environmentally friendly public procurement
The Act implements the EU Clean Vehicle Directive. The Act applies, for example, to the procurement of vehicles and transport services by local and central government or parishes in relation to school transport, waste collection, local bus transport and transport reimbursed by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. The Act contributes to the implementation of the roadmap for fossil-free transport.
The Act divides the minimum requirements into three vehicle categories: passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, lorries, and buses and coaches.
On 10 November 2022, a referral debate will be held on the proposal submitted by the Government to Parliament. The timetable for the debate will be listed on Parliament's website (upcoming plenary sessions). After the referral debate, the proposal will be sent to a Parliamentary Committee. The Act would enter into force on 1 January 2023, when the wellbeing services counties are due to start operating.
Pinja Oksanen, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 46 921 2693, [email protected]
Päivi Antikainen, Director of Unit, tel. +358 50 382 7101, [email protected]