MEPs vote for stricter lorry emission limits

Environment committee sets stage for repeat of Auto/Oil conciliation battle with Council

The European Parliament's environment committee voted today to beef-up a proposed new EU law on exhaust emissions from heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The committee approved amendments put forward by German Socialist MEP Bernd Lange to set mandatory standards for 2005 in addition to those proposed by the European Commission for 2000.

Earlier this year, Mr Lange succeeded in steering through 2005 limits for passenger cars and light vans against strong opposition from the Council of Ministers (ENDS Daily 30 June). He is hoping for a similar result on the HGV dossier. If the full Parliament endorses the committee's decision, the scene is set for another round of "conciliation" talks between the Parliament and the Council, which is likely to oppose setting 2005 emissions limits now.

At a recent meeting of environment ministers, a majority of member states indicated that they were in favour of waiting for a proposal on 2005 limits which the Commission intends to produce at the end of next year based on further collaborative research with the oil and car industries (ENDS Daily 7 October).

Also today, the environment committee voted through several amendments to the Commission's proposed directive to limit emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the industrial use of solvents. The draft directive will now be given a second reading by the Parliament.

The amendments include a proposal to extend the directive to cover private and professional use of solvent-containing products, such as paints. Nearly one-third of VOC emissions come from sources other than the industrial installations covered by the directive, according to the Parliament's rapporteur on the directive.

The amendments have little prospect of being adopted, since the Parliament does not have the same decision-making powers over the proposal as it does on some other dossiers, the HGV emissions directive for example. In addition, EU ministers have already reached a preliminary agreement on the directive and could now reach a final common position at their next formal meeting in December.

Follow Up:
European Parliament, tel: +32 2 284 2111; EU Council of Ministers, tel: + 32 2 285 6111.

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