EU Parliament threatens HGV emissions row

Plenary votes for mandatory 2005 limits despite Commission plea to wait for more research

The European Parliament has drawn the battle lines for another round of negotiations with EU governments on lorry pollution by passing sweeping amendments to the proposed EU directive on emissions from heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The full Parliament in Strasbourg gave approval yesterday to a proposal by German Socialist MEP Bernd Lange that the directive should set mandatory limits for 2005 as well as 2000, as proposed by the European Commission. Earlier this year, the Parliament voted similar changes to legislation on car and van emissions as well as on fuel quality (ENDS Daily 30 June). This forced "conciliation" talks with the Council of Ministers, from which the Parliament emerged victorious on the 2005 standards issue. EU trade commissioner Martin Bangemann told MEPs that the Commission would not accept most of Parliament's amendments on the HGV emissions directive because it was waiting for the results of further research under t he "Auto/Oil" programme. The Commission intended to propose 2005 emission limits by late 1999, he said. Most EU environment ministers said at their last formal meeting (ENDS Daily 7 October) that they were against setting 2005 limit values now. Unless they alter their position, another round of conciliation talks looks certain.

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