EU to tighten type approval rules to prevent another dieselgate

Vehicle testing rules in Europe have been tightened in an attempt to prevent another diesel scandal, after EU regulators have agreed to an overhauled type approval framework.

Each member state will be required to check cars circulating on their roads - one for every 40,000 new registrations - independently of where they were approved. This added random element also lessens the effect of potential wrong-doing or loop holes being exploited in one country, before the model is rolled out after testing to all member states, as could happen currently.

New powers also include the European Commission the ability to check cars already on the road, to make sure that environmental, and health and safety standards are met, even when the vehicle isn't new.

There will be no European Union vehicle testing agency, despite calls from many environmental groups for an overarching independent body. Instead, type approval testing will be carried out by national agencies for Europe-wide regulation, as is currently the case.

The European Commission will be able to assess the work done by each national regulator every five years though, to ensure standards are maintained or brought up to the required levels.

There will also be the ability for the Commission to impose fines on manufacturers of up to 30,000 euros (around £26,400) for each non-compliant vehicle.

Julia Poliscanova, clean vehicles manager at T&E, said: "More than two years after the US caught Volkswagen cheating, we can finally say that Europe will have an improved system in place to keep cheaters in check.

"But 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.

"It's a pity that EU governments led by the biggest car producing countries rejected wise proposals to allow independent members of the Forum overseeing the new system. The Commission may invite third parties and this is essential to give the new system credibility and transparency."

Find out more about vehicle testing and emissions here

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:7th Dec 2017

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