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EU limits on non-road machinery emissions take step forward

Tightened emissions limits on likes of chainsaws, lawnmowers, trains, cranes and small riverboats could apply from 2018

Moves to limit air pollution from the likes of chainsaws, lawnmowers, riverboats and cranes in Europe have taken a step forward after new draft requirements were provisionally agreed at EU level yesterday (April 6).

The draft regulation seeks to limit emissions from likes of chainsaws, lawnmowers and riverboats

The draft regulation seeks to limit emissions from likes of chainsaws, lawnmowers and riverboats

The Netherlands presidency of the European Council reached a provisional agreement with European Parliament representatives on a draft regulation setting new requirements to grant EU type-approval aimed at reducing emissions from non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) engines.

Subject to confirmation by the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Council (Coreper), the agreed draft regulation next needs confirmation separately from both EU Parliament and Council before a first-reading agreement can be reached.

However, it is expected that new harmonised type-approval conditions for new engines installed in NRMM will start to apply gradually from 2018 up to 2020, depending on the category of the engine.

The regulation will apply to engines of NRMM equipment and vehicles covering a large variety of machines, including small handheld tools (such as chainsaws, trimmers and lawn mowers) and construction machinery (including crawler excavators and cranes).

It will also apply to other non-road machinery that contributes “significantly to air pollution, mainly through nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissionsâ€?, such as generating sets, railcars, locomotives and inland waterway vessels.

Market

According to the Council, the draft regulation “seeks to ensure the good functioning of the internal market and to strengthen market surveillance while protecting human health and the environmentâ€?.

“EU air quality policy is one of the priorities of the Netherlands presidency. These new rules will make a significant contribution to the reduction of air pollution.” – Sharon Dijksma, Dutch minister for the environment

“It also addresses competitiveness and compliance aspects, with the aim of removing obstacles to external trade by reducing the regulatory barriers that result from diverging emission requirements.â€?

Emissions limits

By progressively reducing emissions from NRMM engines being placed on the European market, the Council expects a “very significant emission reduction overallâ€?. Only engines in compliance with the new limits will be allowed to be placed and sold on the internal market.

According to the Council, the new rules would also simplify the implementation stages of for the introduction of emission levels and type-approval procedures to “reduce the burdenâ€? on manufacturers.

However, some exemptions will be granted to “address specific needsâ€? related to the armed forces, logistic supply constraints, field testing of prototypes and the use of NRMM in explosive atmospheres.

The emissions limits for NRMM are currently set out in directive 97/68/EC, but several technical papers have reportedly shown that the legislation in its current form has to be updates as it “no longer reflects the current state of technologyâ€?.

The original proposal to update the existing legislation was presented on September 25 2014, following reviews, public consultations and impact assessments.

Commenting on the agreement yesterday, Dutch minister for the environment Sharon Dijksma said: “EU air quality policy is one of the priorities of the Netherlands presidency. These new rules will make a significant contribution to the reduction of air pollution. On behalf of the Council, I commend the Parliament, the Commission and previous presidencies for their willingness to achieve this important agreement.â€?

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