70,000 people in Europe die every year due to air pollution from cars, vans, buses and trucks. This is despite tighter pollution standards introduced after the 2015 dieselgate scandal. Air quality in European towns and cities continues to be poor, exceeding World Health Organisation thresholds for safe air.
The Commission’s recently published Euro 7 proposal fails to deliver the ambition needed to tackle air pollution caused by road transport and meet newly revised EU Air Quality limits.
Weak pollution limits for cars set 15 years ago remain largely unchanged, despite leaps in technological progress. This is particularly problematic for highly toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particles which cause the majority of air pollution deaths. Truck particle limits were also weakened at the last minute in direct contradiction with expert recommendations.
The proposal does increase the number of harmful pollutants regulated, the range of driving conditions and time for which limits have to be met, introduces particle pollution limits for brakes, and continuous monitoring of pollution through high-tech sensors.
Yet many of these provisions are weak and fall short of recommendations made by the Commission’s own experts. Without increased ambition on key aspects, the proposal risks greenwashing today’s polluting vehicles as ‘clean’ Euro 7, harming air quality and confusing consumers.
Our reaction paper explains the pros and cons of the proposal and gives recommendations on how it should be improved.