EU propose tougher emissions tests

The European Union (EU) has proposed a series of tougher rules for vehicle emissions tests in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

Under its proposals, the EU wants emissions tests to be carried out by independent assessors without any financial connection to car manufacturers, and more stringent rules in the tests themselves. The Union is also calling to receive greater powers to recall vehicles across Europe, as well as the ability to carry out roadside spot checks on all cars and to suspend testers who are underperforming.

At present, testing is carried out by individual member states using technical facilities paid for by the auto industry. The individual countries also have responsibility to police the behaviour of vehicle manufacturers.

However, the EU’s proposals do not include the creation of a regulator similar to the United States’ Environment Protection Agency.

The proposals come in the wake of the high profile Volkswagen emissions scandal that emerged in 2015, which saw some diesel cars in Europe producing carbon dioxide emissions at four to five times higher than legal limits.

In a statement, the European Commission’s vice-president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said, ‘The Volkswagen revelations have highlighted that the system which allows cars to be placed on the market needs further improvement. To regain customers’ trust in this important industry, we need to tighten the rules but also ensure they are effectively observed.’

The draft regulation will now be sent to the European Parliament and to all member states for further deliberation.