EU rules on motorbike emissions finalised
Agreement was reached last night on EU limits for polluting emissions from motorcycles. During conciliation talks, the European parliament managed to convince member states to set new 2006 emission standards now as well as a series applying from 2003. Governments had been insisting that 2006 limits should be voluntary, until global emission testing methods specifically for motorcycles became available.
Technical negotiations under the auspices of the UN economic commission for Europe (UN/ECE) were completed earlier this year, paving the way for eventual political agreement on draft world-wide \"test cycle\" for motorcycle emissions. This prompted the council to revise its stance against compulsory 2006 limits (ED 08/03/01).
As agreed last night, compliance with the 2003 EU limits will be based on an existing test cycle designed for cars, while compliance with 2006 limits will be allowed using either the car test cycle or the new motorcycle test cycle. The two testing systems will both be valid for motorcycles for several years. This will give industry flexibility in phasing in the new motorcycle-specific emission tests.
It will be up to the European Commission to suggest a deadline for an end to the use of the car test cycle in measuring motorcycle emissions. A proposal is expected to be published this year or next, a source close to the process told Environment Daily.
The original proposal for tighter limits on emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides from motorcycles and similar three and four-wheeled vehicles was published by the European Commission as part of the Auto/Oil research and legislation programme (ED 26/09/00).
Last night\'s agreement must now be rubberstamped by the parliament plenary and the council of ministers.
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