Clean Air in London accuses government of lobbying to have EU drop plans for testing of emissions from vehicles
An air quality campaigner has accused the UK government of lobbying to ‘weaken’ proposed road-worthiness legislation going through the EU over proposed tests for vehicle emission systems.
Discussions are currently ongoing within the European Council of Ministers, made up of each of the EU’s 28 Member States, over proposals for testing requirements to prevent deaths from poorly maintained vehicles, which were agreed by the European Commission in July.
The legislation sets out the minimum standard that vehicles must meet to pass an MOT test, and includes plans for the requirements for the measurement of NOx and particulate emissions from vehicles.
But, Clean Air in London, the air quality campaign group run by Simon Birkett, has claimed that the UK government, via the Department for Transport, alongside those of Germany, Austria and the Netherlands is seeking to remove the requirement for tailpipe testing of vehicles that was agreed during the last round of discussions by the Commission.
The group also claims that the government has failed to enforce laws relating to the removal of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) from vehicles – which it said may mean that many motorists are using their vehicles illegally.
Guidance over the legal implications of the removal of factory-fitted DPFs was issued on September 24, but Clean Air in London claims that little has been done to enforce the requirements set out in the document.
Mr Birkett, director of Clean Air in London, said: “Tens of thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands of UK motorists are illegally driving diesel vehicles, face losing their car insurance and risk being found guilty of the criminal offence of fraud without realising it. Perhaps worse, whether they know it or not or care or not, they are polluting the environment with carcinogenic diesel exhaust.
“This is a red line issue, the European Commission and European Parliament must withdraw from negotiations with the Council of Ministers unless the new regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers includes the effective independent and periodic tailpipe testing of oxides of nitrogen (petrol and diesel vehicles) and particulates (diesel and vehicles only). Europe should keep its current legislation rather than approve a new regime that would risk weakening emission systems checks.â€?