EU to tighten car approval rules to prevent repeat Dieselgate
Stricter car approval and testing rules could be in place by September 2020, helping to prevent another ‘Dieselgate’ saga taking place.
The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have reached an agreement on the Commission proposal from January 2016 to fully overhaul the EU ‘type approval’ framework, in a move to stop carmakers “exploiting loopholes”.
The new rules would force each member state to check cars circulating on their roads (one per every 40,000 new registrations) independently of where they were approved. There are also new powers to trigger upgrades or EU-wide recalls when irregularities are found. And the European Commission would be able to check cars already on the road to ensure they continue to meet health, safety and environmental standards after leaving the factory floor.
The Commission would also be able to impose administrative penalties on manufacturers or technical services of up to €30,000 (£26,480) per non-compliant car.
However, EU countries rejected the original Commission proposals to end the financial link between carmakers and the test laboratories, which means carmakers will keep funding the work done by testers checking cars and vans. Members also rejected a proposal to allow independent members to be part of the Forum, a group of representatives from member states and the Commission with the task of overseeing the car approval system.
Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomed the agreement but warned of the need for proper scrutiny and real enforcement of the new rules.
Julia Poliscanova, clean vehicles manager at T&E, said: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating. If the European Commission doesn’t keep a tight grip on national car regulators and check their work robustly and regularly, dieselgate will happen again.”
The preliminary agreement is now subject to formal approval by the European Parliament and Council. The Regulation will then be directly applicable in all Member States and will become mandatory on 1 September 2020.