Stricter EU bus and lorry emissions limits come into force

Legislation enters force limiting nitrogen dioxide emissions from heavy motor vehicles by a further 80%

Stricter EU limits on pollutant emissions from trucks and buses, including nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, have come into force this month.

The new ‘Euro 6’ limits mean new heavy motor vehicles in member states will have to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by 80% and emissions of particulate matter by 66% compared to 2008 levels, according to the European Commission.

Heavy goods vehicles are now subject to tighter emissions controls

Heavy motor vehicles are now subject to tighter emissions controls

The Commission has also introduced global harmonised procedures and standards for testing heavy vehicle emissions levels that will have equivalent emission limit values to the USA.According to the Commission, this will help to boost automotive industry exports from Europe, as vehicles will face the same testing procedures in the USA as in the EU.

The legislation, named the ‘Euro VI norm’, was adopted in June 2009 and became effective on December 31 2012. It will enter into force gradually from the first quarter of 2013, with full application to the registration, sale and entry into service of all heavy goods vehicles by January 2014.

It was developed following feedback from a public consultation and recommendations from the Commission’s CARS 21 High Level Group (Competitive Automotive Regulatory System for the 21st century), set up to make policy recommendations to support the competitiveness and sustainable growth of the European automotive industry.


European Commission vice president Antonio Tajani, commissioner for industry and entrepreneurship, said: “Today’s emission reduction will help clean up the air we breathe and improve the competitiveness of Europe’s automobile industry. As agreed in our recently adopted Cars Action Plan we are creating a win-win situation: we will have cleaner trucks and buses, which will be trendsetters and exportable worldwide.”

Stricter limits on emissions including nitrogen dioxide from passenger cars will enter into force in 2014 as part of the Euro VI standards. The European Commission believes these standards will help improve UK local authorities’ ability to meet EU air quality targets (see story).

Emissions limits for heavy vehicles are measured differently to lighter passenger vehicles. Whereas passenger cars’ emissions limits are measured by driving distance (grams per kilometre), lorries and trucks are measured by engine energy output (grams per kilowatt hour).


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