MEPs meeting in Strasbourg today voted to avoid a showdown with EU governments over exhaust emissions from heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) by rejecting proposals for the earlier introduction of tighter standards on nitrogen dioxide emitted (NOx). Voting in plenary session, the parliament decided not to pass an amendment proposed by its environment committee that would have forced manufacturers to meet NOx standards of 2 micrograms per kilowatt hour (ug/kWh) by 2006, two years earlier than agreed by environment ministers last year (ENDS Daily 22 December 1998). The stringency of future NOx standards was the only remaining substantial point of dispute between the Parliament and the Council of Ministers on the dossier, which is now expected to be approved by ministers. The vote follows failure by the Parliament's rapporteur, Bernd Lange, to make progress towards a settlement with the Council in informal talks intended to avoid a lengthy conciliation procedure, a closed negotiation round invoked in some cases when the two bodies disagree. Conciliation was responsible for delaying the introduction of exhaust emission standards for cars last year (ENDS Daily 30 June 1998). The proposed amendment was passed narrowly by the parliament's environment committee last month with the support many MEPs who said they would vote against it in the plenary session if it emerged that conciliation would be the likely outcome (ENDS Daily 19 October).
In the above article we described the proposed EU limit on emissions of
nitrogen oxides from heavy goods vehicles as being 2 micrograms per
kilowatt hour. The proposal adopted by EU environment ministers, and left
unchanged by MEPs, is for a limit of 2 GRAMS per kilowatt hour.
European Parliament, tel: +32 2 284 2111.
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