Governments in Europe are turning blind eyes to tougher emissions tests under pressure from their car makers, says Transport & Environment.
Governments from major carmaking countries – notably Germany, Italy and Spain – are holding back efforts to strengthen the system of testing and approving vehicles that has allowed millions of air-polluting cars on Europe’s roads, according to official documents and informal minutes seen by Transport & Environment (T&E).
The three governments oppose new checks by the European Commission to confirm that cars, once sold, continue to produce acceptable levels of emissions.
The same three, together with Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, are among the governments blocking: checks on national testing regulators to ensure they perform their work properly; and clear obligations for regulators to carry out after-sale checks on vehicles. Government officials will meet this week (26-27 April) in what is expected to be one of the last attempts to agree a Council position on type approval reform.
Only France, the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark support meaningful reform of the system of approving cars for sale that has been utterly discredited by the Dieselgate emissions scandal.
A compromise proposed by the EU presidency allows vehicle tests by the Commission and sets a target for how many cars should be tested after they have been sold. However, the draft compromise lets national regulators off the hook by suggesting authorities should be allowed to check one another’s work – and even then only in limited cases – rather than face inspections by independent auditors.