Emissions from Heavy Duty Vehicles

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5.26 pm
Jim Fitzpatrick: I am grateful for the opportunity to make some closing remarks. I will restrict myself to trying to respond to one or two of the points that I failed to respond to earlier. I apologise if I do not cover everything and I will scour Hansard and write to hon. Members with clearer answers to questions that I do not address now.
The hon. Member for Manchester, Withington asked why there will be a criminal offence. My understanding is that it will be for each state to set proportionate and dissuasive penalties. That decision will be made in due course. He also asked how many vehicles were failing the Euro V regulations. Just to make sure that I got on the record the exact position, the Euro V regulations are for new vehicles, as these will be. Thus there are no new vehicles that fail the Euro V standards at present. This standard will be mandatory from 2009. That is consistent: all Euro standards are for all new vehicles and all new vehicles will meet the Euro VI standard from 2014.
Mr. Leech: I was trying to establish what proportion of vehicles—obviously not new vehicles—are still on the road that do not meet those standards, along the lines of what the hon. Member for South Thanet was saying. Clearly, we all want to introduce new standards for new vehicles, but there is this big issue of older polluting vehicles. If we do not know how many of them are on the road and how much pollution they are creating, we will not be able to find a solution.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That is a fair point. Indeed, my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North, who is no longer in his place, raised a similar one. Lorries and buses that meet the new standards will begin to be introduced from 2013. Renewing the entire fleet will take 20 years on current projections, although the bulk of the lorry fleet will be renewed and replaced within seven years, so there will be some tail-ending of the vehicle change over.
My hon. Friend the Member for South Thanet asked when old vehicles should be abandoned, and I can tell him, in a similar vein to the response that I just gave the hon. Member for Manchester, Withington, that commercial vehicles have relatively short lives, so banning them has never been considered necessary. Local authorities have the power to restrict access of older vehicles to polluted areas where they believe it is appropriate to do so. My hon. Friend claimed that he would be prepared to wait a year longer to get the benefits more clearly manifest, but sadly a number of member states want the earlier introduction in 2014, a point to which I alluded in my speech. As I discussed with the hon. Member for Wimbledon, that is where we are and where we hope to be. I have been advised that the US heavy goods vehicle fleet now largely runs on diesel, whereas until fairly recently it was mostly petrol. That has changed in recent years.
Question put and agreed to.
Committee rose at twenty-two minutes to Six o’clock.
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