MEPs weaken Euro-VI NOx and particle limits

MEPs have voted to water down proposed limits on nitrogen oxides and fine particle emissions from heavy vehicles. The decision appears to reflect a wish to prioritise fighting carbon dioxide emissions over air pollutants.

Sketch of some documents (default image for news

[mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]The vote in the environment committee came on the Euro-VI proposals on pollutant emissions from lorries that are due to come into effect in April 2013. The Commission proposed the revised legislation late last year, suggesting a target of an 80% reduction
for NOx emissions and 66% for particles compared with the Euro-V standards which come into force this year. But it was recognised that achieving such levels would cause a slight rise in CO2 emissions.

At July’s meeting, the committee voted to water down the proosed limit on NOx from 400 mg/kWh to 500, a move they justified by saying it would permit the use of technologies that could halve CO2 emissions.

They also stick to the Commission’s figure for fine particles of 10 mg/kWh rather than a proposal by the rapporteur Matthias Groote for 5mg.

The 500mg limit for NOx is likely to benefit the producers of Urea, a product used in NOx after-treatment, than a 400mg limit would have done.

Road is largest polluter

Meanwhile a new report from the European Environment Agency shows that road transport remains Europe’s single largest air polluter.

The report published in late July shows emissions from cars and lorries are the single most important contributor of SOx, CO and non-methane VOCs in the 27 states. Road transport is also the second-most-important source of fine particle emissions (PM10 and PM2.5) causing breathing diseases, behind the house building sector.

• The German pro-rail group Allianz Pro Schiene has launched a website (in English and German) to oppose the possible EU-wide introduction of 60-tonne lorries. The site, www.nomegatrucks.eu, aims to collect names of supporting organisations in as many EU countries as possible. The Commission is reviewing whe-ther to allow the longer and heavier vehicles on EU roads.