11:07, December 13 70 0 theguardian.com

2018-12-13 11:07:05
EU relaxation of diesel emission limits was illegal, court rules

The new generation of so-called “cleaner” diesel vehicles can be banned from Madrid, Paris and Brussels after a ruling by European justices.

City authorities can now stop Euro 6 diesel vehicles from entering their cities. The European court of justice has overruled a decision by the European commission to allow new diesel vehicles to emit higher levels of nitrogen dioxide.

The justices said the original limit of 80mg/km must be maintained and that a 2016 relaxation of car emission limits was illegal.

The three cities took the European commission to court over its proposal to allow a 168mg/km limit following pressure from national governments. EU law had previously set a 80mg/km limit.

The European court of justice said on Thursday the commission was not allowed to change the limits of nitrogen oxides for vehicles when it introduced a new test designed to be a realistic assessment of emissions.

“The commission did not have the power to amend the Euro 6 emission limits for the new real driving emission tests,” the court said.

The decision means plans by the three European cities to ban new diesel vehicles can go ahead.

Areeba Hamid, clean air campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “Ever since Europe’s car industry told Europe’s governments their big lie, that they could make clean diesel engines, an array of mechanisms has been launched to cover up the inconvenient truth.

“The diesel deception has moved from Volkswagen’s infamous cheat device and its equivalents from other manufacturers, to the contorted ‘standards’ with loopholes big enough to drive an SUV through.

“Truth is, diesel is a dirty fuel, the car industry can’t be trusted, and no amount of smoke and mirrors is going to persuade anyone otherwise.”

Hamid said: “There is no reason why London, and cities across Britain, should not follow suit.”

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