POLIS and Eurocities comment on Euro 7 proposal: positive steps, with room for improvement

The recent proposal for the new Euro 7 standards to reduce pollutant emissions from vehicles, although taking some positive steps in the right direction, was met with serious concern by POLIS and Eurocities. Both organisations penned a joint letter urging EU policymakers to review the lack of ambition in the proposal, along with its increased complexity.

In a joint letter, POLIS Network and Eurocities state that the Euro 7 proposal is “not ambitious enough, and not a clear improvement over Euro 6 for tailpipe emissions from cars, especially petrol ones”. Although the proposal includes some positive steps, like addressing non-exhaust emissions, as well as including increased real driving emission requirements, the lack of ambition on the Euro 7 criteria will result in serious struggles for cities and regions to comply with the new air quality standards of the revised Ambient Air Quality Directive, published in October and a key milestone of the Zero Pollution Action Plan.

This will force cities and regions to take even more strict actions, such as banning conventional automobiles, brand-new congestion-charging schemes, and zero-emission zones (ZEZ). These measures are politically costly for local authorities despite their necessity and may result in an additional public backlash.

Karen Vancluysen, POLIS Secretary General, alerts that:

“There’s no time to waste. We must accelerate the shift to sustainable and clean mobility. Cities and regions hold the keys to fundamental changes. Many are bravely stepping forward, and their efforts must be supported by EU regulations, not undermined,”

POLIS and Eurocities also draw attention to the added complexity of the Euro 7 proposal introducing new categories that may create confusion for policymakers and citizens. We, therefore, ask for more clarifications to better understand the new proposed categories and their impacts on local air quality, in particular, the risk of greenwashing on emissions standards and of bypassing local regulations as the new vehicles categories based on geofencing and adaptive emission could provide a way to transfer emissions of air pollutants from LEZ and ZEZ to their adjacent areas.

André Sobczak, Eurocities Secretary General, warns that:

“If the Parliament and the Council do not improve the final text, the burden will be shifted on cities which might end up paying the price of unpopular – but necessary – measures,”

POLIS and Eurocities ask the Commission to ensure the following:

  • A meaningful Euro 7 emission standard that fully delivers significant reductions in ICE vehicles’ exhaust and non-exhaust emissions;
  • A swift adoption of the regulation to help public authorities with the new air pollutants limits set in the revised Ambient Air Quality proposal;
  • A fit-for-city regulation with simplified Euro 7 standards that support local governments when setting up low-emission zones.

Source: POLIS and Eurocities

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