European Court backs Brussels over diesel emission limits

Friday, 14 December 2018 09:55
European Court backs Brussels over diesel emission limits © Ruben De Rijcke/Wikimedia
The EU Commission was not acting within its powers to set lower emissions standards for new diesel cars than for older models, the European Court of Justice has ruled, in a case brought by Brussels-Capital Region, Madrid and Paris.
The norms for nitric oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel cars were set by the EU in 2007, but the scandal surrounding cheating on emissions tests which came to light led the Commission to propose testing for NOx in real driving circumstances. The car industry lobbied for an exception for new vehicles, which allowed them to exceed the 80mg per kilometre limit from 2007 by 110%, to 168mg/km.

That number will go down to 120mg/km in 2021, but that is still substantially higher than the base 80mg/km limit.

The European Court has now declared the exception invalid, reasoning that the Commission was acting outside of its authority in making the change. The case was brought by Brussels, Madrid and Paris, three capital cities that are working to reduce diesel emissions, and who saw the more flexible limits as an undermining of their efforts – “permission to pollute,” as the complaint put it. Brussels mayor Philippe Close described the verdict as “a great victory” for the three cities on Twitter.

The existing higher limits for new vehicles will remain in force for the time being. The Commission has been given one year to bring the rules into line. The authorities in Paris had requested symbolic damages of one euro, a request which the Court rejected.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times
Google Plus

More Stories

Potentially deadly ​​virus puts unvaccinated Belgian dogs in danger

Potentially deadly ​​virus puts unvaccinated Belgian dogs in danger

The parvovirus - also known as 'dog typhoid fever' - could be on the rise in Belgium, according to reports.

New campaign to teach the dangers of railway crossings

New campaign to teach the dangers of railway crossings

A new campaign by railway manager Infrabel aims to target people who "do not realise the danger" of level crossings after research showed nearly half of those asked would ignore rules. 

Brussels forces public sale of building after 10 years of vacancy

Brussels forces public sale of building after 10 years of vacancy

The city of Brussels is the first municipality in the Brussels Region to successfully impose the forced sale of a vacant building under the Brussels Housing Code.