Documents considered by the Committee on 3 November 2010, including the following recommendations for debate: Financial Management - European Scrutiny Committee Contents

4 Vehicle type approval



+ ADDs 1-2

COM(10) 542

Draft Regulation on the approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles

Legal baseArticle 114 TFEU; co-decision; QMV
Document originated4 October 2010
Deposited in Parliament12 October 2010
Basis of considerationEM of 25 October 2010
Previous Committee ReportNone
Discussion in CouncilNot known
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionNot cleared; further information requested


4.1 The Commission's 2006 initiative CARS 21 (Competitive Automotive Regulatory System for the 21st Century) recommended simplification of the current whole vehicle type approval regulatory framework. It also recommended, where appropriate, replacing relevant EU Directives by equivalent UN-ECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) Regulations. Type-approval that is directly based on internationally agreed standards will improve market access in third countries, in particular those which are contracting parties to the UN-ECE 1958 Agreement on type-approval, thus enhancing EU industry's competitiveness.

4.2 CARS 21 simplification of EU type approval legislation is undertaken in a 'split-level approach':

  • fundamental provisions are laid down in a framework Regulation; and
  • technical specifications implementing the fundamental provisions are laid down at a later date, by the Commission assisted by a technical committee, in delegated legislation.

4.3 The existing EU regulatory structure for type approval for motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles has evolved over many years and currently consists of a framework Directive, Directive 2002/24/EC, 13 separate technical Directives and their amending Directives. This means that the industry and regulators must currently be aware of a mass of legislation and ensure that it is correctly transposed into national law or applied as appropriate — this is considered to be a costly, burdensome process.

The document

4.4 This proposal aims to simplify the approval process for motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles, while improving safety and limiting the emission of exhaust pollutants. Simplification would be achieved by repealing the current framework Directive and the technical Directives and replacing them with:

  • this draft framework Regulation, containing the fundamental requirements of the type approval system; and
  • technical requirements contained in three Commission Regulations referring, where possible, to harmonised international standards adopted by the UN-ECE.

4.5 The draft Regulation has 17 substantive chapters laying down general requirements for Member States, national authorities, the Commission, manufacturers, importers and distributors. New requirements include:

  • those involved in importing, distributing and marketing motorcycles ensuring that products remain in conformity with the type approval throughout this process; and
  • Member States undertaking market surveillance in order to police the system.

4.6 The three Commission Regulations envisaged, to be made on the advice of a technical committee, are on:

  • environmental and propulsion performance requirements, including electromagnetic compatibility, environmental test procedures related to exhaust emissions, evaporative emissions, greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption, maximum design engine speed, maximum torque and maximum net engine power and sound;
  • vehicle functional safety requirements and related subjects, including audible warning devices, braking, including anti-lock and combined brake systems, electrical safety, front and rear protective structures, glazing, windscreen wipers and washers, and de-icing and demisting devices, identification of controls, tell-tales and indicators, installation of lighting and light signalling devices, rearward visibility, safety belt anchorages and safety belts, tyres, vehicle occupant protection, including interior fittings, head restraints and vehicle doors, vehicle speed limitation by design and vehicle structure integrity; and
  • vehicle construction requirements, including anti-tampering measures, coupling devices and attachments, devices to prevent unauthorised use, external projections, fuel storage, load platforms, masses and dimensions, on-board diagnostics, passenger handholds and footrests, repair and maintenance information, space for mounting the rear registration plate, stands and statutory markings.

There would also be a Commission implementing act to set out administrative provisions, such as the information document, the definitions of the type-approval certificate, the certificate of conformity and associated production conformity requirements, etc.

The Government's view

4.7 The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Transport (Mike Penning) tells us that the Government welcomes the objective of a single set of requirements minimising cost, providing simplification, clarity and access to the widest market for manufacturers and improving efficiency for legislators by removing layers of legislation. He says that:

  • the Government will be examining the proposals in detail to ensure the costs and benefits for the UK are understood;
  • during negotiations officials will be pressing for adequate flexibility in the timetable for changes to technical standards to ensure they are realistic about industry's ability to deliver and to minimise the cost to consumers; and
  • whilst the Commission has prepared an impact assessment for the introduction of the new Regulation on an EU level, in order to determine the impact of the new regulation on the UK, the Department for Transport will prepare a UK impact assessment.

4.8 The Minister comments further that:

  • the draft Regulation would require motorcycles to be fitted with advanced braking systems, which evidence shows is likely to give riders greater confidence when braking, reducing stopping distances and hence improving safety;
  • this is likely to impose additional costs on industry, however the requirements for smaller capacity motorcycles would be simplified to reduce costs;
  • Member States will no longer be able to refuse to register motorcycles with a power of more than 74 kW — the UK does not currently impose a power limit and there is no evidence that a power limit on all motorcycles improves safety;
  • the impact of the proposed measures on anti-tampering will depend on the scope of implementing Regulations;
  • updating the requirements for vehicles currently subject to these requirements, that is motorcycles used by learner riders with restricted licences, would take into account the availability of new technologies that might be used to increase performance;
  • it is not clear, however, whether the proposal gives powers to extend the provisions to other motorcycles and the Government will be seeking clarification from the Commission;
  • the proposals for revised exhaust emissions would bring limits into closer alignment with those being introduced for other vehicles;
  • transitional provisions reflect requests by motorcycle manufacturers to ensure a reasonable timeframe for their introduction;
  • measurement of carbon dioxide and fuel consumption would be introduced for the first time giving consumers the opportunity to compare the fuel efficiency of vehicles — some Member States may choose to use the information to encourage the sale of fuel efficient vehicles;
  • the proposal includes a number of provisions, such as access to repair and maintenance information, which will implement for two- and three-wheeled vehicles and quadricycles requirements that are being introduced for cars, buses and goods vehicles — this needs to be explored further to ensure the measures are appropriate for motorcycles;
  • new requirements on market surveillance would supplement existing powers that allow Member States to take action on non-conforming vehicles — consumers should benefit from the measures, which would also clarify the responsibilities of importers and distributors to ensure they sell safe products and provide satisfactory customer support; and
  • whilst the new Regulation would be directly applicable to Member States and not in itself require transposition into national law, the revoked Directives would need to be repealed, and effective enforcement methods and a national alternative to EU whole vehicle type approval might need to be provided — this might require national regulations.

4.9 Noting that the Government's impact assessment will provide an estimate of the costs that will be incurred by the introduction of this proposal, the Minister says of the financial implications of the draft regulation that:

  • simplifying the approval process will reduce the burden on both industry and the Government;
  • requiring fitment of advanced braking is likely to be a significant cost to manufacturers — smaller capacity motorcycles may be fitted with simpler systems to minimise the cost while larger capacity machines will require advanced braking systems;
  • the requirements will be applied to new types from 2017 to provide manufacturers with sufficient lead time to introduce these systems cost effectively;
  • in the short term the proposal introduces tighter emission controls based on those developed by industry which are intended to minimise the cost; and
  • stricter, long term limits have also been proposed but would be reviewed prior to introduction to ensure they remained a cost effective solution.

4.10 The Minister tells us that the manufacturing industry has been kept informed and broadly welcomes the proposals, while noting the need for sufficient lead time for the introduction of revised safety and emissions requirements and that the technical points will be developed separately.


4.11 Whilst the simplification this draft Regulation would achieve is to be welcomed we note that there are a number of issues the Government is addressing in the negotiation of the proposal and that it is producing its own impact assessment. Before considering the document further we should like to hear about progress in the negotiation and to see the impact assessment. Meanwhile the document remains under scrutiny

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2010
Prepared 12 November 2010