Tighter air pollution limits for construction machinery, but diesel trains escape

Diesel trains and barges will not need to have exhaust treatment systems even though they are required for cars and trucks, EU governments and MEPs agreed last month. The new law means citizens living along rail-lines and close to rail stations must continue to breathe cancer-causing diesel fumes, T&E warned.


However, the law includes a requirement for new diesel machinery such as construction machines and generators to have exhaust treatment systems which is a welcome addition to the EU air quality standards. Hand-held machines, such as saws and those used in gardening, will also have to be cleaner in the future.

Julia Poliscanova, T&E air quality manager, said: ‘More diesel machines will now be required to clean up their act with diesel particulate filters and NOx emission control technologies. But diesel trains and inland barges shouldn’t be allowed to belch toxic fumes while the technology to clean up the emissions is available and routinely fitted to modern trucks. Moving more goods and people by rail and water shouldn’t result in a trade off for higher air pollution.’

T&E also called for an ambitious proposal to retrofit the off-road diesel machinery already in use; the issue the European Commission promised to examine in 2018.

The new emission standards will be gradually implemented from 2018 to 2020. The next review to tighten this up is not expected until 2020.