Western Europe brushes its dirty diesel cars under the Polish carpet

350,000 dirty second-hand diesel cars mainly from Germany were exported to Poland in 2017 only, shows a new briefing by green transport group Transport & Environment. The research also points out that national governments have legal tools to limit this influx and should use them to protect their citizens.

Following the Dieselgate scandal, more and more western European cities are banning diesel cars. As a result, these cars are being sold as second-hand in central and eastern European countries.This is particularly true for Poland that imported over 850,000 second hand cars last year, mainly from Germany (70%), with about 40% of these being polluting diesels. Diesel cars imported to Poland last year on average emit 1000mg of NOx per km, or 12.5 times the current EU’s Euro 6 limit.

Jens Müller, Diesel and Air Quality Coordinator at T&E said: “Governments must stop exporting air pollution. Problems caused by a mass manipulation of emission tests by carmakers must be fixed, not brushed under the carpet. All EU citizens have equal right to clean air.

Even if the EU Single Market limits the options available to Member States when it comes to restricting the influx of dirty diesel cars, a new legal analysis commissioned by T&E shows that Member States can restrict the registration, sale, entry into service or circulation of new and second-hand diesel vehicles that are non-compliant with type-approval, at least temporarily, for their impact on public health and the environment.

Jens Müller concluded: “In the absence of European solutions to fix around 43 million dirty diesels found on Europe’s roads as of 2018, Member States can and must take measures to restrict their use to protect their citizens from air pollution.

Poland is the main car market in Central and Eastern Europe and has some of the worst air pollution in Europe causing over 43,000 premature deaths annually.

In addition to this analysis of options available to Member States, European solutions for the legacy of the “dieselgate” scandal will soon be discussed at the “European Diesel Summit” jointly organised by T&E, EUROCITIES and the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) in Brussels on 6 November 2018. Speakers include Elżbieta Bieńkowska, EU Commissioner for the Single Market, Kathleen van Brempt, Member of the European Parliament, and representatives of health, consumer and environmental organisations.

Contact the press team

Nico Muzi
Communications Director
+32 (0)484 27 87 91 
nico.muzi@transportenvironment.org

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