Seventy-fourth Report of Session 2017–19 Contents

6Real driving emissions test changes

Committee’s assessment

Legally and politically important

Committee’s decision

Cleared from scrutiny

Document details

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 on type approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information

Legal base

Article 114 TFEU; ordinary legislative procedure; QMV

Department

Transport

Document Number

(40677), 10347/19 + ADD 1, COM(19) 208

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

6.1The proposal under consideration concerns the amendment of Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 on the type approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles.48 The proposed Regulation lays down certain emission limits for new light-duty cars and vans. The technical provisions necessary to implement the Regulation were given effect to by EU tertiary legislation (namely Commission Regulation (EC) No 692/2008).49

6.2The proposal has been introduced in response to a recent judgment of the General Court of the European Union in Direct Actions T-339/16 (Ville de Paris/Commission), T-352/16 (Ville de Bruxelles/Commission) and T-391/16 (Ayuntamiento de Madrid/Commission). The application made to the General Court by the Cities of Paris and Brussels and the Municipality of Madrid sought the annulment of Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/646.50

6.3By way of background, Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/646 amended and defined ‘not-to-exceed’ limits for Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) emissions during the Union’s ‘Real Driving Emissions’ (RDE) test procedure. These limits were achieved by using ‘conformity factors’ or multipliers to align RDE test results with those conducted under laboratory conditions—which are performed in line with the ‘World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure’ (WLTP)—and are set against the headline limits stipulated by Regulation (EC) No 715/2007.

6.4Before the General Court, Paris, Brussels and Madrid argued that the Commission did not have the power to adopt measures pertaining to NOx emission limits—by way of the RDE conformity factors set by Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/646—as the limits that resulted were less exacting than the headline limits provided for by Regulation (EC) No 715/2007. This situation arose as the Commission planned to progressively increase conformity factors for RDE tests up to the limits set by Regulation 715/2007—by successive delegated acts—as the associated RDE testing technology and, in particular, its accuracy, improved.

6.5The General Court held that only the legislator could introduce conformity factors as they touched upon an essential element of Regulation (EC) 715/2007 and ordered that those parts of Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/646 setting conformity factors be annulled. The Court, however, permitted the entirety of the Regulation to remain valid for 12 months to allow the potential implications of its decision to be assessed by affect parties. As of the date of this Report, the Commission, Germany and Hungary have appealed the Court’s decision.

6.6The proposal under consideration is intended to provide legal certainty for manufacturers and customers in the event that the aforementioned appeal is not successful. The proposal mirrors the substance of Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/646; with the conformity factors and time limits for their introduction remaining the same. In light of the General Court’s decision, the amending Regulation under scrutiny serves merely as a way of ensuring that the correct legal procedure is followed for the setting of conformity factors; in the first instance via the ordinary legislative procedure and, second, by empowering the Commission to make future revisions by way delegated and implementing acts.

6.7The Minister with charge over the proposal, Michael Ellis MP, wrote to the Committee concerning the proposal by way of Explanatory Memorandum on 4 July 2019. Since this time, Mr Ellis has moved to the Attorney General’s Office to become Solicitor General and Ministerial responsibility for the proposal remains unclear. In his explanatory memorandum, the former Minister of State for Transport explains that the Government supported calls by other Member States for the Commission to appeal the decision of the General Court but, at the same time, considers that continuing to give effect to those parts of Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/646 that were set aside—by way of the proposal under scrutiny—is sensible. This is on the basis that if not replaced, serious uncertainty would result for businesses and consumers (with the more exacting headline emission performance standards set by Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 applying in full without moderation by the in question conformity factors). As such, the Government considers the proposal to be necessary and suggests in its explanatory memorandum that it will support its adoption.

6.8We thank the Minister for his Explanatory Memorandum and his detailed explanation of the proposal under consideration.

6.9On the basis that the proposal is technical in nature and, in effect, provides a new legal basis for a system that has previously been reviewed by the Committee,51 we are content to clear it from scrutiny.

Full details of the documents

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 on type approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information: (40677), 10347/19 + ADD 1, COM(19) 208.

Previous Committee Reports

None.


48 Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2007on type approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information (Text with EEA relevance).

49 Commission Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 of 18 July 2008 implementing and amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on type-approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information (Text with EEA relevance)

50 Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/646 of 20 April 2016 amending Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 as regards emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 6) (Text with EEA relevance).

51 See Twentieth Report HC 34-xx (2005–06), chapter 7 (1 March 2006).




Published: 8 October 2019