The European Parliament has approved a regulation to curb emissions for off-road machinery by 623 votes to 57, with 27 abstentions.
MEPs backed plans to update EU type approval rules and emissions limits for internal combustion engines in non-road mobile machinery (NRMM), which include inland waterway vessels.
The legislation, which defines engine categories divided into sub-categories according to their power range, sets emission limits for CO, HC, NOX and particulate matter (PM) for each category, as well as deadlines for implementing them starting from 2018.
NRMM engines account for approximately 15% of all NOx and 5% of particulate emissions in the EU.
The plans also include a new in-service engine performance monitoring system, which is expected to close the gap existing between laboratory emission test figures and those measured in the real world.
The EU Commission is now set to assess the option of establishing harmonised measures for retrofitting emission control devices to engines, as advocated by MEPs.
During the European Parliament session, MEPs also won a review clause with an understanding for the achievement of additional emission reductions.
Head of EPP Italian Delegation Elisabetta Gardini MEP, the regulation’s Rapporteur, commented in a statement: “We managed to reach a very positive final agreement: a really important balance between environmental protection and the competitiveness of European enterprises.
“We have tightened the limits proposed by the European Commission even further for many engines’ power ranges, but we kept the approach reasonable enough so that the industry can comply with the new requirements in a short time – and this was the most important goal.”
The Federation of European Private Port Operators and Terminals (FEPORT) supported the adoption of the regulation.
According to FEPORT, the approved regulation “gives clarity to terminal operators on engine requirements for future years, whilst also including provisions to allow for terminal operators to re-coup their investment on existing fleets”.
“We believe that the adoption of this Regulation shows that environmental needs and the competitiveness of EU industries can go hand-in-hand,” FEPORT’s secretary general Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid said in a statement.
Although overall most of the speakers at the European Parliament were in favour of the legislation, several MEPs expressed a critical view of the regulation during the debate.
While welcoming the legislation, German MEP Stefan Eck complained about the lack of ambition in the regulation, making references to the presence of a number of exemptions, including one on inland waterway vessels.
French MEP Mireille D’Ornano claimed that it would be difficult for small companies to adapt to the new rules.
“Smaller producers will have great difficulty in transforming their models and live in fear of new texts hindering their medium and long term projects,” she added.
D’Ornano also claimed that the transitional period starting in 2018 and ending in 2020 is too short.