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MEPs Reject UK Government's Attempt to Weaken Diesel Pollution Limits

December 18, 2015 12:35 AM
By Phil Knowles
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Phil Knowles with Catherine Bearder 2015

Clean air, decisions today will have huge impacts for years ahead says Regional Vice Chair Phil Knowles as he applauds MEP Catherine Bearder's strong words.

A proposal to water down and delay stricter emissions tests for diesel cars has been firmly rejected by MEPs in the European Parliament's Environment Committee. 40 MEPs voted to reject the weakening of EU emission standards while only 9 voted to support it, including UK Conservative MEPs.

An official UK government briefing sent to MEPs earlier this week urged them to support the weaker pollution limits. Air quality campaigners warned the proposal would undermine efforts to tackle deadly air pollution in cities across the UK, including the planned Ultra Low Emission Zone in London.

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder commented:

"It disgraceful that the UK government has been trying to weaken EU pollution limits behind the public's back. I am delighted MEPs have voted to reject this shameful stitch-up.

"Cutting diesel pollution is vital to clean up the air in our cities. The technology to reduce deadly emissions is already available; we should not have to wait another decade for legal limits to be met."

Under an agreement reached by government officials in October, the introduction of tests that reflect real-world driving conditions would be delayed until 2019, two years later than originally planned. Cars would also be allowed to emit over double the current legal limit of deadly NOX pollution and 50% over the limit from 2021 onwards in order to help carmakers meet the stricter tests.

Next steps: Following today's committee vote, a full European Parliament vote on whether to reject the proposal is expected in January 2016. If the rejection goes through, the European Commission will be requested to present a more ambitious proposal before April 2016.

Cllr Phil Knowles
07710 026392