The government has launched a consultation today on proposals to pass new European limits on engine emissions from sources ranging from lawnmowers to construction machinery, into UK law.
Changes to the rules on non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) were passed by the EU in 2016, paving the way for new emissions standards for carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from NRMM across the continent (see airqualitynews.com story).
Standards were first brought into law in the UK under the Non-Road Mobile Machinery (Emission of Gaseous and Particulate Pollutants) Regulations 1999, and have since been amended to cover a broad range of non-road equipment including locomotive engines, inland water vessels and hedge trimmers.
Under the rules engines installed in NRMM are split into categories based on their ignition type and engine power rating. These categories are then given limits for specified gaseous output, known as the engine’s ‘stage’.
Businesses manufacturing engines for use in NRMM for sale in any EU member states are required to have them type-approved, to ensure that they meet the relevant standards dictated under the directive. In the UK, the approval authority is the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA).
The latest changes to the regulations will bring in more stringent emissions standards â€“ Stage V â€“ as well as bringing new engine categories â€“ such as snowmobiles â€“ into the scope of the testing regime for the first time.
Changes to the law also include potential penalties of up to Â£50,000 for manufacturers who may be found to be using defeat devices as well as requirements for more consistent testing across different engine categories.
These new laws are expected to be laid in the summer, before coming into effect across the UK and Northern Ireland from 2019.
The UK is intending to pass the EUâ€™s changes directly into domestic law, whilst also consulting on the proposed penalties and approach to enforcement.
The consultation states: â€œWe are considering creating an offence of placing on the market an engine using a defeat strategy, or other similar functionality, to deliberately circumvent EU Regulation, irrespective of which national authority is used to obtain type approval. Our intention is to make such an offence potentially applicable to any, and all, elements of the supply chain – the engine or machine manufacturer, importer or dealer/distributor. Comments are requested as to whether this is appropriate.â€
Stakeholders have been given until 10 April to comment on the proposals.