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To: President Barroso
Re: Unacceptable move on Euro VI air pollution standards heavy goods vehicles

July 2009

To: President Barroso

Re: Unacceptable move on Euro VI air pollution standards heavy goods vehicles

Dear President Barroso,

At a meeting of the Commission’s Motor Vehicle Working Group on 6 July, an official document* was circulated stating that Vice President Verheugen has asked the services of DG Enterprise to prepare a proposal to delay introduction of the above standards that were legally adopted by the EU as recently as the Council meeting of 8-9 June.

That would be an unprecedented and deeply damaging move. To our knowledge, no European Commission has ever proposed to postpone an environmental law that has been already agreed under the co-decision process. Such a move would severely damage the standing and credibility of the European Commission.

Specifically, such a proposal would be damaging for the following reasons:

  • Air pollution from lorries causes some 40,000 deaths a year. A further delay to this legislation would result in significant numbers of unnecessary deaths and illnesses;
  • Euro standards are one of the few ways the EU can directly regulate air pollution, a delay would make it harder for national and local authorities to reach urban air pollution targets set at EU level. Recently the Commission rejected the majority of requests from Member States for derogations from air quality limits. A delay to Euro VI standards would obviously provoke an outcry from the Member States affected;
  • The health impacts would be felt worldwide, as most other regions follow Euro standards within a few years;
  • It would punish the forerunners, those manufacturers and suppliers who have already invested in the technology needed to meet these standards by the current deadline; if the proposal moves forward it would also create a huge amount of uncertainty in the industry;
  • Europe is already several years behind the United States on introduction of tighter air pollution standards for lorries, this step would lead to Europe further lagging the US in a key area of environmental policy.

For these reasons we urge you to prevent this unprecedented and damaging move from DG Enterprise from ever becoming an official Commission proposal.

Yours sincerely,

Jos Dings, Director, European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E)

Also on behalf of:

European Environmental Bureau (EEB) Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)

* Work Programme on car legislation 2009 (2nd semester), Proposals under the responsibility of DG Enterprise & Industry

Last updated on 13 June 2011

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