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European Law Monitor newsCleaner trucks and buses: Tighter limits for nitrogen oxides and particulate matter (Euro VI)

The Commission has proposed to reduce emissions from trucks and busses of nitrogen oxides by 80% and particulate matter by 66% compared to the Euro V stage. The new ´Euro VI´ standard will significantly contribute to a further improvement of air quality in Europe. It will also be a step forward towards global harmonisation as it foresees limit values similar to those of the United States of America. Furthermore current legislation will be simplified as directives (which need to be transposed in 27 different national legislations) will be replaced by regulations which are directly applicable. The Euro VI should enter into force in 2013. The proposal has bee subject to stakeholder and internet consultations, and will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

Commission Vice-President, Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry, said: "More stringent emission limits will pave the way for cleaner trucks and buses. This is good for the health of our citizens and the environment. Industry gets a clear perspective and the time to prepare to produce clean, high quality vehicles without endangering its competitiveness.''

Member States and their citizens are concerned about the impacts of air pollution on human health and the environment. Although air quality has improved over the past decade, there remain significant air quality problems throughout the European Union, especially in urban areas and densely populated regions.

To address this problem, the Euro VI proposal lays down common EU rules on heavy motor vehicles with regard to pollutant emissions. In particular, the proposal foresees a reduction of 80% in nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 66% in particulate matter (PM) emissions compared to the Euro V stage limits.

The proposal has been developed following the principles of Better Regulation and the recommendations from the High Level Group for Competitive Automotive Regulatory System for the 21st century (CARS 21 ). In particular:

* the feedback received in the public consultation has been fully taken into account;
* the cost and benefit of different options have been evaluated in an impact assessment;
* the current directives will be repealed and will be replaced by directly applicable regulations thus reducing the delays inherent in the transposition of directives;
* the proposal leads to global harmonisation in that it foresees limit values similar to those of the United States of America.

In addition to more stringent limit values, the proposal introduces provisions on off cycle emissions, on-board diagnostic, access to repair information, durability of pollution control devices, replacement pollution control devices, conformity of in-service engines and vehicles, carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption measurement. The proposal also foresees the introduction of a particle number limit value. These measures aim at reinforcing the effectiveness of heavy vehicle emissions legislation.
The proposal and its impact assessment are available at: