MEPs back motion for stricter car emissions testing

Resolution passed today calls for stricter RDE test procedure and for sanctions against carmakers found fraudulently manipulating tests

MEPs today voted in favour of stricter diesel emissions test procedures and called on the European Commission to thoroughly investigate and properly punish any emissions test fraud.

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MEPs voted in favour of a resolution on car emission test procedures today (October 27)

In a resolution passed today (October 27) in Strasbourg — by 493 votes to 145 against, with 25 abstentions — MEPs called for a full and transparent investigation into the Volkswagen scandal, with the European Commission reporting back in March 2016.

MEPs said any manufacturers found to have fraudulently manipulated emissions tests should face “appropriate sanctions”, but stressed that employees of offending firms should not be penalised and that company profits should cover all costs arising from infringement of the rules before redundancies are considered.

The resolution also backs the introduction of Real World Driving Emission (RDE) tests for passenger vehicles across the EU by 2017 at the latest, as well as a ban on practices used by carmakers to optimise test conditions — such as over-inflating tyres or removing wing-mirrors.

Current EU plans mooted for RDE tests focus only on NOx emissions, but MEPs today called for these tests to cover all air pollutants.

Furthermore, the adopted resolution recommends considering whether to establish an EU-level surveillance authority, while welcoming investigations into vehicle emissions tests in individual Member States.

According to the European Parliament, in backing the resolution MEPs “strongly condemn any fraud by automobile manufacturers and deplore the fact that millions of consumers have been deceived, and regret the damage to human health and the environment from excessive emissions”.

The text of the resolution backed by MEPs states that the current Volkswagen emissions scandal “risks undermining the whole automotive sector, a key contributor to growth, innovation and jobs in a significant number of Member States”.


The vote wraps up the European Parliament debate on the issue earlier this month, during which calls came for the Commission to open an inquiry into the VW scandal (see story).

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder commented after today’s vote: “It’s taken the VW scandal to bring this issue into the public domain, but the EU’s flawed rules on diesel emissions have been an open secret for years.

“The truth is MEPs have long been fighting to put in place stricter tests, while national governments have resisted these life-saving changes because of lobbying from the powerful car industry. We now have the political momentum for a radical overhaul that will ensure carmakers cannot dodge the rules and real steps are taken to cut deadly pollution from diesel vehicles.”

The vote came on the same day UK air quality minister Rory Stewart told MPs on a select committee that the government had been pushing for several years for real world driving test procedures (see story).

It also comes ahead of a crucial European Parliament vote tomorrow (October 28) in Strasbourg on updating limits in the National Emissions Ceilings Directive, with European agricultural groups lobbying strongly against including limits for ammonia and methane.


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