Documents considered by the Committee on 12 September 2018 Contents

10Second mobility package: emissions performance standards

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; scrutiny waiver granted

Document details

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars and for new light commercial vehicles as part of the Union’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles and amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 (recast)

Legal base

Article 192(1) TFEU, ordinary legislative procedure, QMV

Department

Transport

Document Number

(39203), 14217/17 + ADDs 1–4, COM(17) 676

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

10.1The proposal under consideration is part of the Commission’s second ‘Europe on the move’ mobility package. The second, so-called ‘clean mobility’ package, was presented to Member States in November 2017 and, in addition to the proposed emissions Regulation, includes the proposed Clean Vehicles Directive, an action plan on the trans-European deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure, proposed revisions to the Combined Transport Directive, and proposals for a Directive on Passenger Coach Services and a Regulation on common rules for access to the international market for coach and bus services. With regard to those proposals that recommend legislative action, the Committee is currently awaiting responses to the questions it asked of the Government during their first consideration. These files will be considered again when the Committee has received the information it has requested.

10.2The proposal under scrutiny would recast two existing Regulations on emission performance standards for new passenger cars and new light commercial vehicles. The main focus of these revisions is the introduction of more stringent emission performance standards and, in light of the ‘dieselgate’ scandal, the creation of a robust, EU-level, monitoring process (headed by the Commission). In keeping with the rationale for the second mobility package, these changes are sought to support driving a transition from conventional combustion engine vehicles to cleaner technologies.

10.3The specifics of these proposed revisions include:

10.4In his Explanatory Memorandum of 20 December 2017, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Jesse Norman, welcomed the Commission’s proposal. The Minister suggested the current Regulations had driven improvements in efficiency for new cars and new vans and that it was important that a new direction was set in order to capitalise on this success.

10.5The Minister was supportive of the detail of the proposal, and in particular the emission targets suggested and the continuation of the exemption for small volume vehicle manufacturers. The necessity of retaining the derogation for manufacturers producing between 10,000—300,000 vehicles was questioned and the potential cost implications for the price of new vehicles raised.

10.6In our earlier Report on the proposed Regulation (considered on 21 March 2018), we requested further information from the Government on:

a)Whether it would implement any future changes the Commission proposes to the Regulation after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU;

b)Whether it would abide by any obligations stemming from the proposed Regulation and cooperate with the Commission on monitoring and assessing emission standards after EU exit; and

c)Any assessment it undertakes of the costs and benefits of the proposal for the UK.

10.7The Minister addresses these questions in his letter dated 30 August 2018. With regard to question (a), the Minister notes that the adoption of any future changes to the Regulation—once it takes effect—would be dependent on the form of EU exit the UK agrees with the Union. The Minister suggests that owing to the anticipated date on which the proposed Regulation would take effect (after 1 January 2020), if there is a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, it would not enter into force in the UK. Instead, the two Regulations the proposal ‘recasts’ would remain in force once they are copied onto the UK statute book under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. In the event that an agreement is reached on an implementation or transitionary period, the Minister states that it would be his expectation that the proposal would be given effect to in UK law.

10.8As to the heart of the question—whether any future changes made by the Commission to the Regulation would be implemented after EU exit/transition—the Minister does not provide a clear answer. He appears to suggest that retaining equivalence with EU standards in this area will depend upon specific agreement being reached with the Union (intimating that the Government is open to this issue being included in negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU). On the other hand, the Minister states that the standards proposed by the Union fall below the UK’s ambitions and implies, pending a decision not to mirror EU-set emission levels, the Government would be minded to regulate independently after exit.

10.9On question (b), the Minster, again, does not provide a clear answer. Mention is made of ongoing negotiations with the EU concerning access to relevant databases, registries and repositories during any implementation period. Access is being sought so that the UK can meet its obligations under the current Regulation should an agreement on a time-limited transitionary period be reached. Additionally, the Minister notes the potential barriers to future cooperation with the Commission stemming from the limited access for ‘third countries’—non-Member States—to EU systems such as the Central Data Repository of the European Environment Agency.

10.10On the potential costs and benefits of the proposal for the UK (question (c)), the Minster does not provide any specific analysis save for his assessment that the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy is more ambitious.

10.11We thank the Minister for his reply but note that it has been over five months since we wrote to him requesting further information on the proposal under consideration. It is incumbent on the Minister and his department that, in line with the Government’s commitment to the robust scrutiny of EU law and policy, the Committee’s requests are addressed in a timely manner. This is especially important when—as with the proposal under consideration—a General Approach is to be sought shortly and the Minister requests a scrutiny wavier.

10.12Given the possibility that the Presidency will seek a General Approach at the October Environment Council, the Committee is willing to grant a scrutiny waiver in order to allow the Government to support any compromise text agreed. For the avoidance of doubt, this waiver is granted only for the October Council. We request that the Government write to us within four weeks of the October Council—by 9 November 2018—providing a summary of the meeting (detailing the position taken by the UK and any agreement reached on the proposal).

10.13Over the summer there has been significant debate on the emission reduction levels set out in the proposed Regulation. Stakeholders and national authorities have focussed on whether the levels suggested are sufficiently ambitious. In a recent opinion the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee, suggested values of 45% for 2025 and 75% for 2030. It should also be noted that throughout the Government’s Explanatory Memorandum on the proposed Regulation, and in the Minister’s response to our earlier Report, the levels suggested are criticised for falling below national targets.

10.14In light of these debates, we ask the Government for further information on the exact values they would be willing to support in the text of any agreed General Approach. Again, we request this information by 9 November 2018.

Full details of the documents

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars and for new light commercial vehicles as part of the Union’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles and amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 (recast): (39203), 14217/17 + ADDs 1–4, COM(17) 676.

Previous Committee Reports

Twenty-first Report HC 301–xx (2017–19), chapter 4 (21 March 2018).





Published: 18 September 2018