Documents considered by the Committee on 8 February 2017 Contents

7Vehicle type approval

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested

Document details

Proposed Regulation concerning vehicle type approval.

Legal base

Article 114 TFEU, ordinary legislative procedure, QMV

Department

Transport

Document Number

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

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

7.1The Commission has proposed a Regulation to replace the existing EU framework legislation which governs type approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles. Changes proposed focus on better enforcement of the existing standards.

7.2When we considered this proposal early in 2016 we noted the Government’s generally positive response to the proposal, particularly in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal. We recognised the case for better enforcement of the existing type approval standards and asked for more information from the Government about its fuller analysis of the implications of the proposed Regulation, about the outcome of the consultations it was undertaking and about its consequent negotiating aims.

7.3The Government now tells us about its efforts to establish, with stakeholders the impacts, costs and benefits of the proposal. It also says that significant progress in Council working group consideration of the proposed Regulation has so far been very slow, but that the Maltese Presidency intends to continue these discussions. The Government, noting the apparent desire of some Member States to maintain the current system as far as possible, says that it intends to support the majority of the measures included in the draft text, with some refinements. It points particularly to ensuring that powers proposed for the Commission are sufficiently defined and are to be used appropriately.

7.4We are grateful to the Government for this information. However we are retaining the document under scrutiny pending further reports from the Government about Council consideration of the proposed Regulation.

7.5We should also like to hear from the Government, when it next reports, about its assessment of how much weight the UK will carry post-Brexit in adoption of international vehicle type approval standards by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, which would be applicable in the EU in accordance with the proposed Regulation.

Full details of the documents

Proposed 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

7.6Type 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 presented, in February 2016, 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.

7.7The 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 would 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.

7.8In March 2016 the Government commented to us that:

7.9Nevertheless the Government did make a number of initial, largely positive, points to us about aspects of the proposal, while reiterating its intention to examine the actual implications.

7.10We recognised the case for better enforcement of the existing standards for type approval of motor vehicles and their trailers. But we said we would not consider this matter again until we had more information from the Government about its fuller analysis of the implications of the proposed Regulation, about the outcome of the consultations it was undertaking and about its consequent negotiating aims. Meanwhile the document remained under scrutiny.

The Minister’s letter of 17 January 2017

7.11The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Transport (Andrew Jones), writes now to update us on the progress of negotiations and the Government’s view of the measures it contains, reporting first that:

7.12Reminding us that the Government shares the proposal’s overall objectives of raising the standards of all EU type approval authorities and ensuring that manufacturers face a level playing field in seeking the approvals needed to place their vehicles on the EU market, the Minister continues that:

7.13The Minister then tells us that:

7.14Turning to the content of the proposal, the Minister says that:

7.15As for further negotiation of the proposed Regulation the Minister tells us that the Maltese Presidency intends to continue working group discussions, and that the proposal is also under consideration by the European Parliament, although no date has yet been set for plenary consideration.

7.16The Minister also tells us about market surveillance testing in the UK, saying that:

Previous Committee Reports

Twenty-fifth Report, HC 342-xxiv (2015–16), chapter 6 (9 March 2016).





10 February 2017