MEPs call for 'independent' emissions testing

Members of the European Parliament have called on the EU Commission to amend Type Approval regulations so that environmental and safety testing more independent, writes Brian Byrne.

In a vote taken at the Parliament on Tuesday, MEPs noted that the Commission and member states knew for more than a decade that diesel cars’ NOx emissions were higher in real life driving. They now say there should be ‘swift’ action to improve tests and checks.

They were voting on recommendations based on a final report by the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurement in the Automotive Sector (EMIS).

In what was a direct criticism of the Commission, the MEPs concluded that it failed to act appropriately to protect air quality and public health. The Commission also failed to check for so-called ‘defeat devices’ which were recently discovered in the Volkswagen diesel cars scandal.

The recommendations, which are non-binding, call for all work on drafting on air quality and emissions legislation should be placed within the portfolio of a single Commissioner and Directorate-General, to improve oversight and focus.

EU legislation on real driving emissions should be adopted swiftly, with tests covering a wide range of driving conditions, but also with non-predictable variations to detect illegal defeat devices.

Car buyers affected by the scandal should be financially compensated by the car manufacturers involved. The Commission should also propose rules for a collective harmonised EU redress system, strengthening consumer protection.

New type approval rules should be adopted as quickly as possible, to introduce new EU oversight of the system, with clearly defined responsibilities.

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