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  • ‘Flexibility’ is concession by another name

    T&E is working to oppose a watering down of EU rules aimed at reducing emissions from trains and other non-road mobile machinery like construction machines.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]Makers of such vehicles are required to meet a set of EU emissions limits, referred to as ‘Stage III B’. But the industry has been calling for the new environmental standards to be postponed, citing the economic crisis and difficulties developing the necessary technology in time.

    Since 2004, the Directive has contained provisions for a ‘flexibility’ scheme, under which manufacturers can place on the market a limited number of engines (20% of annual sales) that comply with earlier, weaker emissions limits. The Commission now proposes to extend these provisions to 50% of sales. The proposal will be voted on by MEPs on the European Parliament’s environment committee next month.

    But some MEPs and environmental groups including T&E are opposed to increasing the flexibility, which they see as a euphemism for simple concessions. ‘This proposal seriously risks setting a dangerous precedent for watering down environmental legislation based on generic economic claims,’ said the Finnish MEP Sirpa Pietikainen. She says only small and medium-sized enterprises should be granted concessions.

    T&E policy officer Antoine Kedzierski said: ‘ The European Commission has announced its intention to postpone new national emissions targets and air quality laws to at least 2013 and to regulate emissions at source instead. But now the first proposal on source emissions to come before the Parliament actually postpones measures that were already weakened. MEPs should do the right thing and reject this proposal.‘