UK ‘shameful’ for favouring new EU car emissions tests

Catherine Bearder MEP says it was “shameful” for UK to vote in favour of new RDE test procedure as it doubles permitted emissions levels

The UK voted in favour of a phased introduction of new real-world car emissions tests at a recent behind-closed-doors EU meeting, it has emerged — a decision which critics claim will permit cars to emit double the amount of nitrogen oxides.

Smoky diesel exhaust

The RDE test procedure is designed to better reflect exhaust emissions on the road

South East England MEP Catherine Bearder today (November 11) described the decision as a “stitch-up” that would “weaken limits on deadly diesel emissions”.

It follows a Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by the MEP last week, which reveals that the UK voted in favour of the new Real Driving Emissions testing package “with a large qualified majority” at an EU meeting last month.

The EU’s Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles (TCMV) met on October 28 to consider proposals for introducing new RDE test procedures from 2017, which are designed to better reflect actual driving on the road than existing laboratory tests that have been shown to vastly underestimate the levels of pollution emitted from car exhausts.

At the meeting, Member States agreed that new RDE testing will initially apply only to certain newer types of vehicle from its introduction in 2017, before it applies to all new cars on European roads from 2019.

The European Commission said the agreement to end laboratory testing represents a “significant reduction” on currently permitted emissions levels, and that the phased introduction of the new RDE procedure is needed to enable manufacturers enough time to meet the stricter tests.

But critics argue the agreement means that from 2021 all cars will be permanently permitted to emit over 50% more nitrogen oxides (NOx) than under the current Euro 6 limits of 80mg/km, which were agreed in 2007 (see story).


And, it has now emerged that the UK voted in favour of the EU deal on new RDE testing procedures at the closed meeting of the TCMV.

Catherine Bearder MEP today described this as “shameful”, arguing that carmakers did not need more time to comply with the tests as cost-effective technology is already available to them.

She said: “It is shameful that the UK government voted to weaken limits on deadly diesel emissions. The VW scandal should have been a wake-up call, but instead Conservative ministers are continuing to turn a blind eye to this invisible killer.

“MEPs are rightly preparing to reject this disgraceful deal. The technology to cut diesel pollution in our cities is already there, but we need tougher tests to ensure it is implemented.”


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Geoff Ibbs
Geoff Ibbs
8 years ago

The current vehicle emissions testing procedure is a joke, the worrying thing is that its taken at least 15 years in this recognition.
Surely it was validated when set up ? by Defra ?

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