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Euro MPs back car makers, reject proposed veto of raised emission limits

EUROPEAN Parliament members have rejected a proposed veto of the plan to raise NOx emission limits for diesel cars temporarily by up to 110 percent when the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test procedure is introduced.

The EU Commission promised a review clause and tabled a long-term legislative proposal to revamp the EU car approval regime, leading to the vote.

According to the European Commission, the transitional relaxation of limits was justified by the need to take account of technical uncertainties to do with the use of the new Portable Emission Measurement Systems (PEMS) device used for RDE testing, as well as “technical limits to improving the real world emission performance of currently produced diesel cars in the short-term”.

The draft motion for a resolution from the Environment Committee, which had proposed the veto of the relaxed limits, was rejected by 323 votes to 317, with 61 abstentions.

The vote clears the way for the European Commission to go ahead with the second RDE package. Two more are to be tabled in order to complete the process. The Environment Committee will hold a public hearing on the RDE procedure on February 23.

“Intense negotiations took place with the European Commission and member states after the Environment Committee backed the objection, and the European Commission delivered,” Environment Committee chair Giovanni La Via (EPP, IT) said in a statement.

“We now have clear commitments from the European Commission for a review clause with a precise timeframe, in order to bring down the maximum emission values to the levels which were agreed upon by co-legislators.

“A proposal for a long-term reform of the EU approval regime for cars is also on the table, as requested by Parliament.”

The parliament’s decision will allow car makers to go ahead with the RDE procedure in order to bring down NOx emissions from cars which are, at the moment, 400 to 500 percent above the official limits.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) welcomed the vote, saying “This regulation will be a major challenge for the industry, with new and more stringent testing standards that will be extremely difficult to reach in a short space of time.

“However automobile manufacturers welcome the much-needed clarity, and are eager to move forward by implementing the new testing conditions as soon the regulation is adopted,” Erik Jonnaert, ACEA Secretary General said.

RDE testing of cars under realistic driving conditions on the road will be a new addition to the existing test requirements, making Europe the only region in the world to implement such testing.

The second RDE package, approved by the Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles (TCMV) on 28 October 2015, seeks to establish quantitative RDE requirements to limit the tailpipe emissions of light passenger and commercial (Euro 6) vehicles.

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