Italy in push to cut motorcycle emissions

Government, municipalities, manufacturers, agree to meet EU limits, encourage use of catalysts

As part of a push to promote electric scooters and clean up the country's dirty fleet of two-wheeled vehicles, Italy's transport and environment ministries, the National Association of Municipalities ANCI, local traffic officials and the association of Italian moped and motorcycle manufacturers ANCMA signed an agreement on Thursday to set moped emissions ceilings in line with so-called "Euro 1" levels by December 2000.

"The contribution made by two-wheeled vehicles to pollution levels cannot be overlooked, but they're here to stay," said Environment Minister Edo Ronchi. "We are concentrating on replacing the current fleet of two-wheeled vehicles with environmentally acceptable ones," Mr Ronchi added, explaining that incentive-schemes to purchase new vehicles were being extended for the whole of 2000."

Italy has more mopeds and motorcycles than any other European country and urgently needs to reduce emissions from them, according to a recent report by NGO Friends of the Earth. The report puts the external costs of two-wheeled vehicle transport in Italy (including pollution, noise congestion and accidents) at euros 85.7bn (IL166 trillion).

These add up to 172 lire/km, compared with 156 lire/km for cars and 85 lire/km for buses, the report says. "There are around 10 million two-wheeled vehicles on Italy's roads - including 6.8 million mopeds - and only the 120,000 of these sold in 1999 are in line with the European vehicle emissions limits set by Euro 1," said ANCMA's President Alessandro Barberis.

Italian moped and motorcycle manufacturers had made an "enormous effort" in recent years to develop a new generation of mopeds and motorcycles," Mr Barberis said. "New vehicles will shortly be produced that conform not only to Euro 1 but also to the more restrictive Euro 2 standards. We will achieve this not only by introducing more up-to-date catalytic converters, but also by developing new, more ecological vehicles," Mr Barberis said.

Under the agreement, cities commit to promoting electric two-wheeled vehicles. They also commit to defining the emissions standards vehicles must meet annually to qualify for a 'clean bill of health' ('bollino blu') and to extend this to two-wheeled vehicles.

Follow Up:
Italian environment ministry, tel: +39 06 70361; Friends of the Earth Italy, tel: +39 06 687 5308.

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