MEPs overhaul EU vehicle emission rules

In the wake of the VW vehicle emissions scandal, MEPs have amended EU rules to make environmental and safety testing more independent and more transparent.

The EU Internal Market Committee MEPs have amended EU car “type approval” regulations, to ensure emissions testing is more rigorous and that national authority test centres that approve vehicles are independently audited.

Daniel Dalton (ECR, UK), who is steering this legislation through the European Parliament, said: “With today’s vote the Internal Market Committee has sent a clear signal to national governments and consumers that it is about time we addressed the weaknesses that allowed the emissions scandal to take place. We agreed that the key to rebuilding consumer trust in the motor vehicle approval system is more rigorous and systematic oversight at every stage.”

“Type approval” is the process used by national authorities to certify that a vehicle model meets all EU safety, environmental and production requirements before it can be placed on the market. The approved text clarifies the responsibilities of national type approval authorities, testing centres and market surveillance bodies, in order to reinforce their independence and prevent conflicts of interest.

Under the MEPs’ amendments, “national market surveillance programmes” would need to be approved by the Commission. “This commits member states to carrying out adequate market surveillance and allows for a degree of coordination, so that different member states are not doing the same tests on the same cars,” added Dalton.

Car manufacturers who are in breach of the rules, such as falsifying test results, risk fines of up to €30,000 per vehicle, which can be levied by the Commission if no fine is imposed at national level.

MEPs say the penalties should be used to support market surveillance, benefit affected consumers and, if appropriate, for environmental protection.

Last updated 15 February 2017