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  • MEPs back stricter checks on vehicle emissions enforcement

    Today’s vote by MEPs to reform vehicle emissions testing moves Europe one step closer to injecting rigour and independence into its flawed system of car testing, green transport NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. The European Parliament’s internal market committee (IMCO) strengthened the European Commission’s proposal in several key areas including granting unrestricted powers to the Commission to check cars on the road and penalise carmakers as well as national approval authorities not doing their job.

    MEPs also backed independent audits of national authorities, deleting the weak peer reviews originally proposed, to ensure emissions rules will be enforced properly. National authorities will also be required to check 20% of new car models on the road to ensure they comply with standards. MEPs also provided for the introduction of a new online database of test results, accessible to third parties.

    Julia Poliscanova, clean vehicles manager at T&E, said: “We have seen with Volkswagen and, more recently Fiat, what happens when national authorities turn a blind eye to the illegal activities of their domestic carmakers allowing dirty diesels to be sold across Europe. Today’s vote is an important step to restoring the EU’s car testing credibility and ensuring environmental rules are met, not ignored.”

    MEPs on the IMCO committee were unwilling to stop end-of-series provisions that allow carmaker to sell outdated models for longer and slow down the introduction of cleaner cars into circulation. The amendment to establish an EU agency on vehicle enforcement was also narrowly defeated.

    Julia Poliscanova concluded: “While the internal market committee has paved the way for better oversight, now MEPs in the plenary must go further and back an EU agency on vehicle enforcement. This is the only effective means to independently check cars in use and oversee the work of national regulators.”

    The European Parliament is now expected to vote on its final position on type approval reform at its plenary meeting in April including whether to support an EU market surveillance agency.