• EU adopts world’s first test for diesel car emissions ‘on the road’

    EU regulators have today agreed new test procedures that will, for the first time, measure the ‘real world’ emissions of diesel cars under the Euro 6 air quality standard. It will require vehicles to be tested on roads rather than in laboratories, overcoming obsolete tests and ‘cycle beating’ techniques used by carmakers to achieve results in tests many times lower than actual air pollution emissions on the road.

    Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomed the new test rules, which will be the first regime to measure air-polluting emissions on the road. The next step is for the European Commission and member states to agree on what the limits for the real world tests will be and from when they will apply, which should be completed by the end of summer.

    François Cuenot, air pollution officer at T&E, said: “T&E is delighted that the Commission and member states have taken this important step to tackle air pollution from diesel. Europe now needs to fully enforce the new rules from 2017 to bring an end to dirty diesels.”

    The organisation said that the 80 milligram of nitrogen oxide per km limit agreed for diesel cars in 2007 should be met in full. Member states throughout Europe exceed nitrogen dioxide limits exacerbating asthma in vulnerable people and shortening life expectancy in polluted places. Member States are relying on the promise of effective real-driving emissions tests to reduce emissions in the future and avoid potential fines for failing to meeting air pollution rules.

    The rules were pushed through with strong support from Germany and Netherlands but were opposed by the car industry that unsuccessfully tried to weaken the new test rules.

    The continuation of the current weak and ineffective testing regime has seen air pollution worsen with widespread health consequences and the prospect of cities banning diesel vehicles as the only remaining solution.