European ministers have this week adopted new regulations to reform the type-approval process for new cars across the EU, aimed at improving emissions testing on new models.
The regulation, which will be published in the Official Journal of the EU in the coming weeks, will apply to member states from September 2020.
Current EU vehicle type approval rules require member states to check that a car model meets all EU standards before it can be sold on the single market, and must have effective and dissuasive penalties systems in place to deter car manufacturers from breaking the law.
Under the new rules member states will have to carry out checks on vehicles circulating on their roads at the rate of at least one for every 40,000 newly-registered vehicles. Around 20% of tests will be on emissions.
The EUâ€™s Council of Ministers â€“ which is made up of elected officials from each EU state â€“ agreed on a position on the new rules in May 2017, before reaching agreement with MEPs on the proposals in December 2017.
The European Commission will also be empowered to conduct audits on each national type approval authority every five years to ensure that they are upholding the appropriate standards.
The Council has also claimed that the new rules will toughen the requirements around the quality of testing for a car to be placed on the market.
Emil Karanikolov, Minister for the Economy of Bulgaria, said: â€œWe have built a robust and reliable type approval system which will prevent the irregularities that we have seen in the past.
â€œIt provides European citizens with higher standards of safety and better health and environmental protection. Likewise our car manufacturers will benefit from operating on a level playing field.â€
Last week the EU Commission confirmed that it is taking further steps in its infringement procedures against four Member States, including the UK, on the grounds that they have disregarded EU vehicle type approval rules (see airqualitynews.com story).
The Commission sent letters of formal notice to the UK, German, Luxembourg and Italian governments to request more information on the national investigations and legal proceedings related to the handling of the Volkswagen emissions scandal.