Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, welcomed the approval of proposals to tighten up EU vehicle type-approval laws in the European Parliament, together with the results of its inquiry into the car emissions scandal.
Speaking after the vote in Strasbourg today, Ms. Childers, a member of Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee, said:
“Parliament’s inquiry into the Dieselgate scandal shed light on corporate wrongdoing on a staggering scale, matched only by years-long inertia on the part of the EU Commission and the national surveillance authorities.
“Many among us have been defrauded as consumers, and all of us carry on sustaining the damage to health and the environment inflicted by cheating diesel emissions of nitrogen oxides that go up to 40 times above the level engineered to appear in lab testing.
“We will now see stricter rules on access to information, and more responsibilities and powers for the EU Commission to control the work of national authorities in charge of approving new vehicles and those monitoring compliance with legislation, with third party auditors selected by EU public tender.
“Fines of a level commensurate to that practiced in the US will be imposed for future breaches – up to €30,000 per car, and a minimum of 20% of the car types on the road will have to be subjected to compliance checks.
“Given the failure by the EU Commission and national authorities to act upon documented suspicions of industry cheating, we would need an EU-level, independent surveillance agency funded from a fee per car sold in Europe.
“Unfortunately, a conservative majority shot this amendment down.
“In Ireland, an estimated 80% of our diesel vehicle fleet exceeds emissions limits. We are talking about three fourths of all the cars on our roads.
“Some Fine Gael members’ calls for consumer compensation in Europe would ring less hollow to me if they had not defeated an objection to lax on-the-road emissions testing conditions just over a year ago, in this house.
“The Irish government had seen fit to agree to those, with only a couple of countries standing up to Germany’s industrial might.
“Based on their past record, I fear the Council of government Ministers will water down the proposals we agreed today.
“A lot of horsepower has bolted. We will only put a proper close on Dieselgate if we see past the smokescreens the car industry lobby and their national champions have put up.