Twenty-fifth Report of Session 2015-16 Documents considered by the Committee on 9 March 2016 Contents

6Vehicle type approval

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny, further information requested

Document details

Proposal for a Regulation concerning vehicle type approval

Legal base

Article 114 TFEU, ordinary legislative procedure, QMV

Department

Transport

Document Numbers

(37497), 5712/16 + ADDs 1–4, COM(16) 31

6.1Type approval of motor vehicles and their trailers are set out in Directive 2007/46/EC, referred to as the ‘Framework Directive’. Following a 2013 Commission ‘fitness check’ of the Framework Directive which indicated that its effectiveness was reduced by differences in the interpretation and application between Member States, and the September 2015 revelation that VW had been using a device to cheat type approval emissions tests, the Commission has presented this proposed Regulation. The aim is to ensure that vehicle type approval and market surveillance systems for motor vehicles and their trailers are effectively achieving the policy objectives of single market integration, safety and health of citizens and protection of the environment.

6.2The proposal would make a number of changes to the functioning of the type approval system although, other than updating certain references in emissions regulations, it does not change the technical standards (emissions, braking, noise and so on) to which vehicles are approved. The changes focus on better enforcement of the existing standards.

6.3The Government comments to us that:

6.4Nevertheless the Government does make a number of initial, largely positive, points to us about aspects of the proposal, while reiterating its intention to examine the actual implications.

6.5We recognise the case for better enforcement of the existing standards for type approval of motor vehicles and their trailers. But we will not consider this matter again until we have more information from the Government about its fuller analysis of the implications of the proposed Regulation, about the outcome of the consultations it is undertaking and about its consequent negotiating aims. Meanwhile the document remains under scrutiny.

Full details of the documents

Proposal for a Regulation on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles: (37497), 5712/16 + ADDs 1–4, COM(16) 31.

Background

6.6The EU has a range of harmonising legislation, applicable in the whole of the EEA, governing the type approval of automotive products destined for sale in the single market. The EU framework legislation incorporates a number of standards agreed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE), on the formulation of which the EU and its Member States have considerable influence.

6.7The current requirements for type approval of motor vehicles and their trailers are set out in Directive 2007/46/EC, referred to as the ‘Framework Directive’. (The legal frameworks for the other two automotive product categories (motorcycles and agricultural vehicles) were both revised in 2013.)

6.8In 2013 the Commission completed a ‘fitness check’ of the Framework Directive which indicated that it was appropriate for the main aims of harmonisation, effective operation of the single market and fair competition, but that its effectiveness was reduced by differences in the interpretation and application between Member States.

6.9In September 2015 in was revealed that VW had been using a device to cheat type approval emissions tests. This has led to suggestions that the EU’s vehicle type approval regime needs tightening.

The document

6.10With this proposed Regulation the Commission aims to ensure that vehicle type approval and market surveillance systems for motor vehicles and their trailers are effectively achieving the policy objectives of single market integration, safety and health of citizens and protection of the environment. In presenting the proposal the Commission notes the “harsh criticism” of the existing framework after the discovery of the VW issue.

6.11The proposal would make a number of changes to the functioning of the type approval system although, other than updating certain references in emissions regulations, it does not change the technical standards (emissions, braking, noise and so on) to which vehicles are approved. The changes focus on better enforcement of the existing standards, as follows.

Market Surveillance — new obligations for Member States

6.12New obligations are proposed for Member States to carry out market surveillance testing, to cooperate, to alert citizens of issues with testing, and to review market surveillance activities at least every four years and report the results to other Member States and the Commission.

Market Surveillance — obligations for manufacturers and importers

6.13The proposal sets out duties on manufacturers, importers and distributors to cooperate with market surveillance authorities and to show due diligence in avoiding supplying non-compliant vehicles.

Market surveillance — new powers for Commission

6.14The proposed Regulation would provide the Commission with new powers to establish criteria setting out the scale, scope and frequency of compliance verification testing to be carried out by Member States, to establish structures for information sharing, and to carry out testing itself. The latter would be funded by a new top-up fee levied on all applicants for type approval across the EU.

Designation and monitoring of technical services

6.15Technical services are the bodies designated by Member States to carry out approval testing. The proposed Regulation enhances the regular assessment of these bodies and requires Member States to share the results with the Commission and other type-approval authorities. Manufacturers would in future be required to pay for testing via approval authorities rather than paying technical services directly.

Powers to challenge type approvals

6.16The proposal sets out additional powers for the Commission and Member States to challenge and refuse to accept type approvals which they believe are incorrectly issued, enhanced provisions for the suspension or withdrawal of type approval where it is thought to be incorrectly issued, as well as new powers for the Commission to rule on national measures taken under these provisions. The proposal specifies scenarios where a recall of vehicles by the manufacturer would be compulsory.

Functioning of type approval

6.17The proposal sets out various enhancements to approval procedures, including compulsory five year termination and renewal of a type approval, a more specific obligation for approval authorities to require testing of ongoing production, transparency obligations for manufacturers to aid third party testing of vehicle compliance, and powers for the Commission to regulate type-approval authorities.

Powers for Commission to impose fines

6.18The proposal would empower the Commission to impose administrative fines where they discover infringements of the Regulation, of up to €30,000 (£22,900) per non-compliant vehicle.

Amending emissions regulations

6.19The proposal seeks to amend the emissions regulations for light duty vehicles and heavy duty engines on-board diagnostics requirements. New provisions are proposed that require approval authorities to verify carbon dioxide values recorded as part of the approval tests are representative of those under real driving conditions. To assist type-approval authorities the Commission is seeking new powers to establish the verification procedures.

Other measures

6.20Other diverse measures include: enhanced obligations on manufacturers to ensure that repair and maintenance information is provided to the independent repair sector, provisions for EU approval of oversized vehicles, improvements to the approval process for low volume manufacturers, and simplification of an exemption process for vehicles produced in conformity with regulations but that are not sold before a new regulation becomes applicable.

Accompanying documents

6.21The proposed Regulation is accompanied by the Commission’s impact assessment, additional analysis, and annexes which list information and relevant UN-ECE Regulations for the purpose of EU type-approval of vehicles, systems, components or separate technical units.

The Government’s view

6.22In his Explanatory Memorandum of 25 February 2016 the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Transport (Andrew Jones) says that:

6.23The Minister continues that the Government does, however, have a number of initial comments, as follows:

6.24The Minister comments further on the Commission’s impact assessment, first noting its assessment of costs and benefits, the main findings of which are that:

6.25The Minister continues that in its assessment the Commission:

6.26The Minister concludes that:

6.27In relation to the financial implications of the proposed Regulation the Minister says that:

6.28As for consultations the Minister says that:

Previous Committee Reports

None.




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Prepared 16 March 2016