• Van law weakened as it comes close to approval

    The EU’s first legislation limiting carbon dioxide emissions from light commercial vehicles (vans) has moved a step closer, but has been weakened in the process. MEPs on the European Parliament’s environment committee have voted to lower the emissions target for 2020, and have voted against imposing speed limiters.

    [mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]The committee supported the first step of the proposed legislation – a limit for average CO2 emissions from all new vans of 175 grams per kilometre by 2016. But it rejected the Commission’s proposal of a 135g limit for 2020, instead lowering the bar to 140g. It also voted to weaken the penalties paid by manufacturers whose vehicles do not meet the new standards.

    MEPs also ignored calls from the Parliament’s industry and transport committees and voted against plans to introduce speed limiters. But the lead MEP for this legislation, Martin Callanan, hinted that the speed limiters proposal could come back when the legislation is put to the full Parliament.

    ‘This vote is bad news for the millions of companies that could benefit from fuel-efficient vans to save on fuel bills’, said T&E policy officer Kerstin Meyer. ‘By weakening the long-term target, and the penalties, it also sends the wrong signal to the industry.’

    T&E has argued for much more ambitious targets, as recent improvements in fuel consumption among new vans, along with a study T&E published last April, suggest 175g will be easily achieved.

    On speed limiters, Callanan added: ‘Limiters would have reduced CO2 slightly, and they would have reduced the curse of the speeding “white van man” on motorways and Autobahns.’