The European Union sets emissions limits for most applications of internal combustion engines. Legislation exists for the following types of engines and vehicles.
AECC and the development of legislation
Formal proposals for European Directives or Regulations are submitted by the European Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council of Ministers, made up of the representatives of all the EU Member States. Before a formal proposal is submitted, though, the Commission consults widely with all the relevant stakeholders, including NGOs, the motor industry and AECC. As part of this process, European Commission working groups help develop these regulations by providing data, reviewing the feasibility of suggestions and by examining the detailed technical content of drafts. The main group concerned is the Motor Vehicles Emissions Group (MVEG), but there are also expert groups on real-driving emissions, motorcycles, and non-road mobile machinery for instance which allow the Commission to consult on particular areas of development. AECC is a participating member of MVEG and the relevant expert groups and provides test data to assist in the formulation of appropriate legislation.
Once a formal proposal has been submitted to Parliament and Council, the co-decision process starts. Both institutions review the content of the proposals and can accept, reject or propose changes. In the case of Parliament, a lead committee (usually the Environment Committee) examines the details of the proposal and makes recommendations to plenary sessions of Parliament. In the case of Council, the Member States’ experts review the contents. Both Council and Parliament have to agree the final version for the legislation to be adopted. As in the other stages, AECC provides data and information as required by the participants in this process. In the case of regulations, Member States do not have to transpose European legislation into their national law since implementing measures are addressed through delegated and implementing acts (ex-Comitology). AECC also provides technical input in the Comitology committees.
United Nations legislation
AECC also participates in groups which help develop United Nations Regulations on emissions that are applied in many other countries. The United Nations’ World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29), which meets in Geneva, oversees the development of UN Regulations, often based on EU legislation, and of world-harmonised ‘Global Technical Regulations’ (GTR). Emissions regulations are developed by the Working Party on Pollution and Energy (GRPE) and its sub-groups, with the active participation of AECC.
UN Regulations provide a means by which non-EU countries can readily adopt regulations equivalent to those in the EU. GTRs are a more recent development and aim to provide new regulations which can be adopted globally.
Currently most light-duty vehicle emissions regulations are quite different in the three main vehicle markets – the EU, the USA and Japan – and most other countries use one or more of these as their basis. The regulations for the three regions differ not only in the limit values, but also in the test procedures and driving cycles that are required. Nevertheless, emissions legislation for heavy-duty vehicles and non-road mobile machinery tend to be harmonized between the EU, the USA, and Japan.
The first GTRs are aiming to provide harmonized testing procedures, and it is hoped to progress to harmonized limit values as a second stage. The first emissions GTR, commonly known as the World Motorcycle Test Cycle (WMTC) but officially GTR No. 2, was adopted in 2005. GTR No. 4 on Worldwide Heavy-Duty Certification procedure (WHDC) was adopted in 2007. GTR No. 11 on engine emissions from agricultural and forestry tractors from non-road mobile machinery was adopted in 2010. And GTR No. 15 on the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) was adopted in 2014.
The GRPE work also covers developing improvements to test procedures. AECC involvement has included providing the reference vehicle for international testing of an improved procedure for measurement of particulate mass and a new procedure to measure the number of ultrafine particles emitted from vehicle exhaust (the Particulates Measurement Programme, PMP), which is included in the Euro 5 and 6 standards for passenger cars and in the heavy-duty Euro VI Regulation.