MEPs urge EU Commission to get tough on emissions fraudsters

Emissions testing fraud should be investigated thoroughly and those responsible should face appropriate sanctions, said MEPs in a resolution passed on Tuesday 27 October. They said that the EU emissions testing system should be strengthened to ensure that EU emission limits are respected and that vehicles exceeding these limits are discovered quickly. They also recommended considering whether to establish an EU-level surveillance authority.

MEPs strongly condemned any fraud by automobile manufacturers and deplored the fact that millions of consumers have been deceived, regretting the damage to human health and the environment from excessive emissions. The resolution, which concluded a debate on 6 October, was passed by 493 votes to 145 against, with 25 abstentions.

MEPs felt that the current scandal risks undermining the whole automotive sector, a key contributor to growth, innovation and jobs in a significant number of member states.

MEPs welcomed the investigations into vehicle emissions test manipulation to be undertaken in several EU countries and worldwide, and supported the Commission’s call to national surveillance authorities to conduct extensive checks on a wide range of vehicle makes and models. Where “defeat devices” are found, EU member state authorities should take all necessary action to remedy the situation and enforce the appropriate sanctions, they said.

The investigations should involve the Commission, which is asked to report back to Parliament by 31 March 2016.

MEPs stressed that employees should not ultimately be the ones who pay the price for emission measurement manipulation and that all costs arising from the infringement of rules should be covered from company profits and dividends before any redundancies are considered.

The European Parliament is urging the Commission to adopt and put in place the new Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test cycle without delay, adding that while current plans for RDE tests would be used only for NOx emissions, these tests should be put in place for all pollutants.

The EU type approval regime should be redesigned to guarantee that type approvals and certificates issued by national competent authorities can be checked independently and can be reassessed by the Commission and by EU countries’ authorities with a view to requiring recalls and halting the placing on the market of vehicles that do not comply with emission limits, MEPs say. They also call “for consideration to be given to the establishment of an EU-level surveillance authority”.

A representative sample of new models taken off production lines at random should be tested annually, using RDE tests to check their compliance with EU pollutant and CO2 limits, say MEPs, who also want better on-road surveillance through periodic technical inspections.

With regard to in-lab testing, MEPs call on national authorities to show no tolerance for practices such as over-inflating tyres, removing side-mirrors, taping up gaps between body panels to reduce aerodynamic drag, removing equipment such as stereos, and testing at the maximum allowed temperature.

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