The EU has made a U-turn over proposed exhaust emissions cuts and the UK Government has cleared older cars to be sold for another year.
The European Commission today let EU governments off the hook over their failure to address emissions from Europe’s biggest climate problem, transport.
The Commission’s assessment of countries’ draft national energy and climate plans gave no recommendations for each country’s transport sector. A climate ranking published last week shows that governments’ plans to cut pollution from transport will fail to meet their own 2030 emissions targets and, more importantly, the goal of decarbonising by 2050 at the latest.
Transport emissions in Europe have increased every year for the past four years and account for 27% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. Last year it was the only sector that did not reduce its climate impact.
Carlos Calvo Ambel, trends and analysis director at T&E, said, “The climate plans submitted by governments are completely inadequate and the Commission isn’t doing anyone a favour by glossing over that fact. It also fails to acknowledge that the EU itself needs to do a lot more to clean up transport, in particular by making electromobility a top industrial priority and by greening of investment and taxation. Unless something drastically changes, we will miss our 2030 climate goals by a big margin.”
The Commission also claims that countries have to meet a 14% target of renewables in the transport sector by 2030. However, the only binding target for renewables in transport is 7% for advanced fuels because if countries phase out food-based biofuels their target can be lower. Governments may see this as encouragement to use food-based biofuels despite their negative impacts on emissions, deforestation and local communities.
In another move, the UK Government has decided to allow older and more polluting cars to be sold by dealers from stock until the September 2020.
“It is extremely positive that, following our lobbying efforts, the Government’s Department for Transport (DfT) has granted a derogation for non-RDE compliant vehicles”, said Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK.
In a letter addressed to the NFDA Director, Sue Robinson, the newly appointed Minister of State at the Department for Transport, Michael Ellis, has confirmed that ‘the Government has agreed to grant end-of-series derogations for upcoming emissions requirements’.
Following the introduction of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) in September 2018, the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) regulation is due to be implemented on 1 September 2019.
Over the past months, NFDA has been lobbying the Government to obtain a derogation for non-RDE compliant vehicles that franchised retailers already have in stock. A derogation has now been granted by the Department for Transport for the run-out of any end-of-series product line manufactured at least three months before the implementation deadline and is valid for 12 months past the new law’s implementation date.
The derogation will allow retailers to continue to sell non-RDE compliant vehicles for another 12 months after the implementation of the new emission regulation.
Commercial vehicles will also receive a derogation ahead of the introduction of WLTP, which, for commercials, comes into effect on the same date, 1 September 2019, to be followed by commercial vehicle RDE a year later in 2020.
Robinson continued, “It is encouraging to see that the Government recognises the ‘practical difficulties’ for our industry in meeting these more stringent emission testing requirements.
“NFDA will continue to work with our franchised retailer members to encourage the switch to low emission vehicles in a way that is sustainable by both businesses and consumers.
“We will keep liaising with the Government to ensure that the interests of the automotive industry are safeguarded during this phase of transition”.