S&Ds expect Commission to comply with 2007 legislation on emission limits for diesel cars

The need for Real Driving Emission (RDE) tests in the European Union is urgent. This is why the S&D Group in the European Parliament wants to have a well-functioning new system in place as soon as possible. However, the new system must be based on existing legislation already approved by the European Parliament. Therefore, the Socialists and Democrats reject the current proposal made by the Commission to raise the accepted limits for nitrogen oxides (NOx) as part of the new package to introduce an RDE test procedure.

Ahead of a plenary debate on the issue, S&D vice-president for sustainability Kathleen Van Brempt MEP said:

"The recent scandal of defeat devices used on diesel vehicles revealed not only the inadequate and failing compliance regime on the emissions regulation for the automotive sector (it was the US authorities that discovered the fraud) but also that 'perfectly legal' cars are emitting a lot more than the emission limits already agreed in 2007. 

"To avoid any more scandals, we need a new EU-wide type-approval authority and an efficient type-approval system. The answer to the second problem revealed by the 'Dieselgate'  is an RDE test with no loopholes so that new cars will comply with the emission limit values in real use conditions.

"The Commission proposal approved by member states in the Technical Committee for Motor Vehicles last October is a positive step, because it introduces an RDE test, but unfortunately it creates a new loophole in the form of 'conformity factors'*. "

S&D MEP and spokesperson on climate and public health, Matthias Groote said:

"The second stage conformity factor allows a 'deviation margin' far above the technical and statistical uncertainties of the measurement procedure. The Commission and the Council are trying to make a permanent and substantial change to the emission limit values by the backdoor, even though these are enshrined in the basic EU regulation agreed upon by Parliament and Council. In this respect, this RDE decision clearly exceeds the implementing powers provided for in the basic act – as the legal services of the Parliament have also stated.

"We supported the postponement of the vote to February to give the Commission a last chance to revise the final conformity factor downward to only reflect measurement uncertainties. Ahead of the plenary debate to be held tonight, we reiterate our call for an emissions test that reflects the real-world driving conditions and we certainly oppose any raising of the NOx limits set almost a decade ago.

"We have gained some time. It is now up to the Commission to move towards the Parliament and avoid our veto."

*A 'conformity factor' is a multiplier by which the originally agreed Euro 6 limits are allowed to be exceeded.