EU Parliament decided not to veto the lax car emissions test plan image

A move to veto the plan that will allow vehicles to exceed official pollution limits was rejected by members of the European Parliament on Wednesday.

A proposal to veto the draft decision to raise diesel car emission limits for nitrogen oxides by up to 110 percent when the real driving emissions test procedure is introduced has been initially scheduled for January, but ended up being delayed. Yesterday’s vote narrowly rejected the proposal to block the compromise.

The fiercely debated agreement, now backed by the European Parliament, has been planned at a closed-door meeting in October, when EU member states agreed a compromise. The European Commission wanted “real-world” testing to become available from 2016 and only become mandatory following a two-year phase-in for new vehicles from 2017. In these real-world tests, the 80 milligram/kilometer limit could only be exceeded by 60 percent and then fell to 20 percent. Meanwhile, the compromise agreed upon will introduce a “conformity factor” of 2.1 (110 percent) from late 2017, while another two years later it would be reduced to 1.5 – which is still up 50 percent from the initially agreed limit.

The veto recommendation by the EU Parliament’s environment committee, which argued the measure was too soft, failed to garner the minimum 376 votes needed. The veto motion was supported by 317 members out of a total 751. Wednesday’s vote clears the way for the European Commission to go ahead with the lax real-driving emissions package. Two more are to be tabled in order to complete the process. The Environment Committee will hold a public hearing on the RDE procedure on 23 February.