HC Deb 08 July 1994 vol 246 cc345-6W
Mr. Allen

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will list the statutory controls currently applied to vehicle exhaust emissions;

(2) what representations he has received concerning the level of pollutants resulting from motor vehicle exhaust emissions;

(3) what consultations his Department has undertaken concerning the level of pollutants resulting from motor vehicle exhaust emissions;

(4) what consultations he has undertaken with other European Union states concerning the level of pollutants resulting from motor vehicle emissions;

(5) what plans he has to strengthen the controls currently applied to vehicle exhaust emissions.

Mr. Key

Regulations made under the Road Traffic Act 1988 control the construction and "type approval" of new vehicles and the use of vehicles as regards exhaust emissions. These are largely derived directly from obligations under EC directives. Enforcement of in-use requirements through the MOT and roadworthiness test is effected under vehicle testing regulations made under the 1988 Act. A convenient summary of emission requirements to be met by new vehicles entering into service can be found in the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 1993 (SI No. 1993 No. 2199).

The Department receives regular representations from Members and from the public at large on the effects of vehicle pollutants on the environment and health. The Department is also liaising closely with the Departments of Health and Environment on studies which they have commissioned on these matters.

The Department is actively involved with other member states and the European Commission in developing a range of measures at EC level to further reduce vehicle pollutants. Existing controls on emissions will be tightened in 1996 for all vehicles in use. Also in 1996, new heavy diesel powered vehicles will be required to meet more stringent emission standards, as will new cars and vans in 1997 under EC directives already agreed.

The Department has also taken a leading role in the EU with a number of initiatives aimed at further improvements in vehicle emissions. These include improved in-service measures to reduce diesel smoke and particulate emissions; the adoption of "on-vehicle" emission diagnostic systems to promote rapid repairs and permit effective roadside enforcement and during the annual test; and new test procedures for new vehicle approvals, to be combined with reduced emission limits, to more adequately reflect actual on-road behaviour and to take maximim advantage of emerging vehicle technology.

These measures form an integral part of a series being considered by the European Commission that will be applied to all classes of vehicle by the year 2000. In the light of the DoH and DOE sponsored studies currently underway, the Department will also be encouraging the Commission to propose emission standards in line with the advice given. Nevertheless, as a result of measures already in place, we are already set to see a marked and progressive decline in pollutants from motor vehicles that will extend well into the next decade.

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