European Commission faces legal action amid Dieselgate concerns

Environmental lawyers ClientEarth has launched legal action against the European Commission following new rules which allow manufacturers to keep emissions control systems secret.

According to ClientEarth, the new rules run the risk of another Dieselgate scandal and the car industry needs to “explain to the public how the devices they use in their vehicles affect its emissions on the road opposed to test conditions”.

The EU Commission Regulation in question requires car manufacturers to explain what effect any variation to the emission control system has on emissions to Type Approval Authorities, the authorities in an EU Member State that grant technical approval for vehicles to go to market.

In the UK this is the Vehicle Certification Agency.

However, ClientEarth say that the rules, which came into effect last month, allow this information to remain a secret between the manufacturer and the same discredited authorities which in the past have systematically failed to investigate excessive emissions and to keep the car industry on the straight and narrow.

The public will be in the dark about emissions which have significant effects on their health.

ClientEarth CEO James Thornton said: “The Dieselgate scandal showed us we couldn’t rely on these national approval authorities to protect the public and how damaging secretive behaviour by car manufacturers over emissions can be.

“The illegal levels of air pollution in towns and cities across this country are down in large part to diesel vehicles. A cosy stitch-up between manufacturers and the authorities will do nothing to reassure the public that the industry has learned its lesson after Dieselgate.”

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