Europe is planning to get tougher on vehicle emissions.
MEPs this week said they want lower limits, a widening of gases measured and more frequent target reviews.
They are concerned about air pollution but their comments will attract criticism from vehicle makers and governments who fear for jobs while also getting pressure from environmentalists.
As air pollution is responsible for around 400,000 premature deaths in the EU yearly, Environment MEPs on Wednesday tightened up Commission plans and called for more ambitious national caps on emissions of six main pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides in order to cut emissions by 70% across the EU and save €40bn in air pollution costs by 2030.
MEPs also want to include emissions reduction ceilings on mercury, and a midpoint target for most caps of 2025.
“The new NEC directive is the opportunity to tackle this important health issue, by putting in place the benchmarks for Member States to work towards. We cannot underestimate the benefits that would result from cleaning up the air we breathe,” said the rapporteur, Julie Girling (ECR, UK) after her report was adopted by 38 votes to 28, with 2 abstentions.
The committee wants the future national emission ceiling (NEC) directive to include caps on mercury (HG) from 2020, as well as the new caps in all member states on emissions of the air pollutants sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), methane (CH4) ammonia (NH3), and particulate matter (PM2,5) to be achieved by 2020 and 2030, that are proposed by the Commission. The committee stressed that more ambitious targets should be set in order to reach 2030 goals.
In order to ensure progress towards the goals set for 2030, the environment committee suggests that midpoint emissions targets for 2025 be added to the legislation. The midpoint targets would be fully binding for all pollutants, with the exception of methane.