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Health and environment run over by diesel car emissions standards

Press Release

Wednesday 3 Feb 2016

Dublin MEP Nessa Childers condemned today’s failure by a majority of Members of the European Parliament to reject a set of weak measures to limit emissions from diesel cars.

As a member of the Environment and Public Health Committee of the European Parliament, Ms. Childers had vetoed the European Commission’s proposed standards, which prompted a vote by Parliament as a whole.

The vote to reject the measures was today defeated narrowly, with a significant number of abstentions.

Speaking from Strasbourg after the vote, Ms. Childers said:

“I find it incredible that, despite the worldwide uproar after the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal brought auto industry cheating on emissions to light, the Member States governments further weakened these overdue standards from the Commission, and now a narrow majority of my colleagues waived them through.

“We had known, even before car manufacturer cheating was revealed, that emissions standards in driving conditions were lacking, but I hoped we wouldn’t let this powerful industry dictate the stringency and the pace of these standards in the present context.

“The legal limits were set by Parliament and the Council of Member States in law, yet these technical measures allow for error margins of up to twice as much, to be tightened over the years.

“These are not measures to implement the law, but rather to flout it.

“Nitrogen oxide alone claims the life of almost 100,000 citizens in Europe a year.

“We are sending a disturbing signal by allowing corporate giants to avoid the consequences of their actions for as long as possible, with their bottom lines running over health and the environment.”