Governments from major carmaking countries – notably Germany, Italy and Spain – are holding back efforts to strengthen the system of testing and approving vehicles that has allowed millions of air-polluting cars on Europe’s roads, according to official documents and informal minutes seen by Transport & Environment (T&E). The three governments oppose new checks by the European Commission to confirm that cars, once sold, continue to produce acceptable levels of emissions.
It has been more than a year since the European Commission presented its type approval proposals (or TAFR) to reform the current system of vehicles testing following the Dieselgate scandal. Following extensive consideration by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers, the final negotiations to agree the changes are imminent. The Parliament voted its position on 4 April; the Council is expected to agree most technical details at a working group meeting on the 26 and 27 April and reach a final agreement at the Competitiveness Council on 29 May.
A solution to the long-standing confusion over how much pollution cars really emit is being pioneered by the cities of London and Paris. A new scheme, in which T&E is a partner, will measure real-world emissions from cars and make them available to the public via a special website. The mayor of Paris described the scheme as ‘not anti-car, just anti-pollution’.
New powers for the European Commission to spot check cars on the road and properly scrutinise national regulators over enforcement of safety and emissions rules have received an overwhelming backing of MEPs. The European Parliament supported a raft of proposals to further strengthen the Commission's original proposal for the reform of vehicles type approval. However, parliamentarians rejected the establishment of an EU testing regulator, which T&E said would have ensured a Dieselgate scandal could never happen again.
MEPs have called on the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to ban the highly polluting marine fuel ‘heavy fuel oil’ – sometimes referred to as ‘residual fuel’ – from use in Arctic waters. The full European Parliament wants the IMO’s environment committee to discuss outlawing the use of HFO in the Arctic when it meets in July.
MEPs today missed an opportunity to ensure a Dieselgate scandal can never happen again by rejecting an EU testing regulator, sustainable transport NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. The European Parliament’s plenary voted against establishing an EU Vehicle Surveillance Agency which would have ended the current discredited system in which national regulators have been captured by their carmaker clients. Parliament did, however, support a raft of proposals to further strengthen the European Commission's strong original proposal.
Following the Dieselgate emissions scandal, European policy-makers are currently discussing the reform of the EU vehicle testing system (or the Type Approval Framework Regulation - TAFR). This briefing outlines why the legislative proposal is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to fix today’s obsolete and ineffective way of checking that cars, vans, trucks and their parts and components meet EU safety and environmental standards.
On 4 April MEPs will have a unique opportunity to cast their vote to secure independent, robust checks on vehicles by voting for a European Vehicle Surveillance Agency. As the European Parliament's Dieselgate inquiry committee (EMIS) has so clearly articulated, “Member states have not been up to the task in implementing EU legislation on vehicles and establishing appropriate market surveillance.”
Europe’s key industry players and NGOs push Member States to show more urgency and publish their plans for crucial e-mobility infrastructure.