British negotiators secure new rules to stop car test cheats
New measures to make sure vehicles have to meet emissions and safety standards once out of the showroom have been supported by MEPs.
A direct response to the VW emissions scandal, the revised market surveillance rules have been piloted through the European Parliament by British Conservative MEP Daniel Dalton and were passed in a massive voting session overseen by the East Anglian MEP, Vicky Ford.
The rules set out new tests for cars and other vehicles both in the factory and on the road, new reviews of the testors and crucially new penalties designed to prevent test cheats. Furthermore across Europe each country will test samples from 20 per cent of the car models on the market in their country every year. These will be of various ages and so ensure that vehicles still meet minimum standards when in use.
The report was approved today by members of the Internal Market and Consumer Affairs Committee (IMCO) and is expected to be considered by the full Parliament in April.
West Midlands MEP Mr Dalton said: "When buying a car we expect it to perform to the manufacturer's specifications. This legislation reassures consumers that will be the case.
"One of the reasons the car emissions scandal went undetected for so long is that the current arrangements for market surveillance are at best patchy and at worst ineffective. Whilst we can never guarantee another VW will not happen again, my report, combined with the real driving emissions tests for new cars approved by the European Parliament last year, make it very unlikely that any manufacturer would take such a risk in future."
Under the proposed legislation, national market surveillance programmes will be subject to regular review. Cars can be tested at the roadside, be drawn from rental fleets or procured in other ways that do not inconvenience consumers. The Commission will be able to undertake its own testing when necessary and issue EU-wide model recalls and levy fines on manufacturers in the event of failures.
Mr Dalton added: "By addressing the loopholes that allowed the emissions scandal to take place we will begin to rebuild consumer confidence both in our testing systems and in the manufacturers who build our cars."
Conservative MEP Vicky Ford, who chairs the IMCO Committee, welcomed today's vote.
She said: "Buying a car is the single largest purchase most people ever face. These reforms are vital to restore consumer trust and hold manufacturers to account.
"Achieving this deal has involved deep and detailed work across Europe which was led by a British negotiator. I hope that the new relationship between the UK and the EU post Brexit will enable continued practical co-operation on issues of this nature."
Mrs Ford has worked with local car experts such as Ford in Dunton, Essex as well as consumer group in developing the new rules package.
My Political Priorities
Economic Stability must come first. Without a strong economy we can not deliver a strong society. I work with businesses and consumers to keep Britain open for business, cutting red tape, boosting trade opportunities and helping to deliver jobs and growth for all.
I support Science and Research which is key to delivering better medical care, healthy food as well as the Innovation and Creative Industries which bring improved lifestyles for all our families.
Strong home Security is vital in today's uncertain world, which requires robust policing and defence and deep international relationships that we can depend on. I work with others to achieve this.
I care about the Countryside and the Environment and making sure that rural and urban communities flourish.