Extra time for non-road vehicles to meet limits

Manufacturers of tractors and engines used in non-road mobile machinery will need more time to meet already adopted stricter emission limits, according to the European Commission.

EU legislation sets limits on emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and fine particles (PM) from these engines. The current emission standards, known as stage IIIA, will from 1 January 2011 be replaced with stage IIIB that set significantly stricter limits for PM emissions. In addition, stage IV standards with stricter NOx-limits are to apply for some types of engines from 2013.

But the recent economic recession has led to a slump in sales, which in turn has resulted in a situation where some manufacturers have not yet developed engines and accompanying technology to meet the more demanding limits of stage IIIB.

The Commission's proposed solution is to extend the so-called "flexibility scheme", which was introduced to facilitate the transition between the different emission stages and allows manufacturers to place on the market a limited number of vehicles fitted with engines that comply with the less stringent emission limits of the previous stage.

The Commission proposes that the percentage of older engines permitted to be placed on the market under the flexibility scheme should be increased to 50 per cent of each manufacturer's annual number of sales (calculated as the average sales in the EU over the last five years). These engines would only be required to comply with the stage IIIA limits until the end of 2013. The current quota is 20 per cent of sales before 2012.

On 7 July, the Commission published its proposal to amend the 2004 directive regulating air pollutant emissions from non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) so as to increase the flexibility provisions. More recently on 8 November, a similar proposal was published for agricultural and forestry tractors.

Sources: ENDS Europe Daily, 15 November 2010, AECC Newsletter, July-August 2010.

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