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EU MEPs vote to tighten national caps on pollutants

16 July 2015

Members of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament adopted a proposal to tighten the national caps on emissions of six main pollutants: SO2, NOx, NMVOC, NH3, PM2.5 and CH4. The proposal would result in emissions reductions by 70% across the EU and estimated saving of €40bn in air pollution costs by 2030.

The report by rapporteur Julie Girling (European Conservatives and Reformists, ECR, UK) on the National Emissions Ceiling directive was adopted by 38 votes against 28. The report is based on an amended 2013 proposal by the European Commission.

The Committee wants the future national emission ceiling (NEC) directive to include caps on mercury (HG) from 2020, as well as the new caps in all member states on emissions of the six air pollutants to be achieved by 2020 and 2030, that are proposed by the Commission.

In order to ensure progress towards the goals set for 2030, the Environment Committee suggests that midpoint emissions targets for 2025 be added to the legislation. The midpoint targets would be fully binding for all pollutants, with the exception of CH4.

In the area of vehicle emissions, the report recognizes that the Euro emission standards have failed to deliver the expected NOx emission reductions from diesel vehicles and urges the European Commission to present a complete proposal for the new Euro 6 Real Driving Emissions (RDE) regulations.

The committee also voted to remove the Commission proposal for flexibility allowing members states to offset reductions in emissions from NOx, SO2 and PM from international shipping. Offering maritime offsets would be extremely difficult to apply, and would essentially exclude landlocked countries, the Committee believes.

The report will be put to a plenary vote in Strasbourg in October 2015.

Source: European Parliament