Environment MEPs oppose relaxing diesel car emission test limits

A draft decision to raise diesel car emission limits for nitrogen oxides (NOx) by up to 110%, along with the introduction of the long-awaited Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test procedure, is neither explained nor justified, and would undermine the enforcement of existing EU standards, said Environment Committee MEPs, in a resolution, voted on Monday, which objects to the draft. Parliament has a right to veto the proposal.

The new RDE procedure is designed to allow for a more realistic testing of car emissions, by using a portable device and performing the test on the road.


Technical uncertainties


In a draft delegated act endorsed by member states in the Technical Committee for Motor Vehicles (TCMV) on 28 October, the European Commission proposed, as part of a package of measures setting up the RDE test procedure, to raise the maximum car NOx emission limits by up to 110%. This was because technical uncertainties to do with the use of the new Portable Emission Measurement Systems (PEMS) device had to be taken into account.


However, MEPs point out that the Commission itself concluded, on the basis of an analysis by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), that the maximum margin of measurement error with this device is 30%, and on average 18.75%.


The committee therefore opposed the adoption of the measure, also stressing that:


“Air pollution causes over 430,000 premature deaths in the EU every year and costs up to an estimated €940 billion per year as a result of its health impacts, nitrogen oxides (NOx) are major air pollutants which cause, inter alia, lung cancer, asthma and many respiratory diseases, as well as environmental degradation such as eutrophication and acidification, diesel vehicle exhausts are a principal source of NOx in urban areas in Europe, and recent air pollution analyses by the European Environment Agency attribute 75,000 premature deaths to NO2 emissions in Europe, with 93% of all exceedances occurring close to roads.”


Next steps:


The motion for a resolution, tabled by the S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA, GUE-NGL and EFDD groups, was passed by 40 votes to 9, with 13 abstentions. It will be put to a vote by the full Parliament at the 18-21 January plenary session in Strasbourg.


(Source: European Parliament)



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