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MEPs launch 12-month dieselgate emissions inquiry

A committee of 45 MEPs will investigate breaches of EU rules on car emission tests and alleged failures to enforce EU standards

A committee of 45 MEPs has been set up by the European Parliament to investigate breaches of EU rules on car emission tests following revelations of cheating by German carmaker Volkswagen earlier this year.

The EPA has announced fresh allegations of defeat devices in Volkswagen cars in the US

Volkswagen has admitted installing ‘defeat devices’ to circumvent diesel emission tests

Announced yesterday (December 17), the inquiry committee will also look at alleged failures by EU Member States and the European Commission to enforce EU car emission test standards, before presenting an interim report within six months and a final report within a year of starting its work.

MEPs approved the creation of the dieselgate inquiry committee by 354 votes to 229, with 35 abstentions.

In September, Volkswagen admitted installing cheat devices designed to circumvent air pollution emissions tests on several of its vehicle models, affecting millions of cars around the world.

The ensuring scandal has placed the car manufacturing industry and diesel emissions regulations under considerable scrutiny.

The committee set up by MEPs yesterday will investigate:

  • the alleged failure of the Commission to keep test cycles under review
  • the alleged failure of the Commission and member states authorities to take proper and effective action to oversee enforcement and to enforce the explicit ban on defeat devices
  • the alleged failure of the Commission to introduce tests reflecting the real-world driving conditions
  • the alleged failure of member states to lay down provisions on effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties applicable to manufacturers for infringements
  • whether the Commission and the member states had evidence of the use of defeat mechanisms before the scandal emerged on 18 September 2015

UK Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder welcomed the new inquiry committee, commenting: For too long, the EU and national authorities have turned a blind eye to widespread rigging of emissions tests in the car industry. Years of dirty deals made behind closed doors have led to more dirty air in our cities.

This inquiry will lift the lid on this scandal and ensure there is full public accountability for what happened. The answers we get should strengthen the case for more effective pollution limits to be put in place as soon as possible.

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