MEPs seek objection to real world driving test proposals

Emissions tests designed to more accurately reflect real world driving are currently slated for staggered introduction from 2017

MEPs on the European Parliament’s Environment Committee may this evening (December 14) table an objection to plans for new real world driving emissions (RDE) tests agreed by Member States in October.

The European Parliament's Environment Committee meets this evening (December 14)

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee meets this evening (December 14)

Slated for introduction from 2017, the proposed RDE test procedure is designed to better reflect actual driving on the road compared to the current laboratory tests, which have been shown to vastly underestimate the levels of pollutants emitted from car exhausts.

The RDE test regulations were agreed at a meeting of the EU’s Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles (TCMV) on October 28, when it was decided that the test procedure should only apply to some new types of cars from 2017 and should not apply to all new cars on European roads until 2019.

The European Commission welcomed the agreement for a “more robust testing method” which will see a staggered introduction across Members States from 2017 in order to give car manufacturers more time to meet the stricter tests.

However, the decision has prompted anger from some MEPs and environmental campaigners, with Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder describing the RDE procedure rules as a “disgraceful stitch-up” which would delay and weaken the new testing regime (see story).

She argued that the staggered introduction of new RDE testing will mean that from 2021 all cars will be permanently permitted to emit over 50% more nitrogen oxide (NOx) than under the current Euro 6 limits agreed in 2007 of 80mg/km.

As such, a draft motion to object to the RDE test proposals has will be voted on at today’s MEP Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety meeting in Brussels.

The motion states that the draft RDE test regime ‘results in a de facto blanket derogation from applicable emissions limit, incompatible with the aim and content of the regulation on type approval of motor vehicles, and exceeding the implementing powers in the regulation on maximum residue levels of pesticides’.

It therefore calls on the European Commission to withdraw the draft RDE plans and ‘submit a new one without delay’ by April 2016 at the latest which includes a conformity factor ‘reflecting only the possible tolerances of the emission measurement procedure in place by 2017’.


Reiterating her criticism of the TCMV’s October agreement, Ms Bearder said she was confident that MEPs would this evening vote to object to the RDE plans and also criticised the UK government for its role in “weakening” the RDE test proposals.

She said: “The Volkswagen scandal should have been a wake-up call, but still the government continues to turn a blind eye to this invisible killer. MEP’s are rightly preparing to overturn this shameful decision.”



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