MEPs give carmakers more time on recyclability

Carmakers should get an extra 18 months to meet EU minimum vehicle recyclability standards proposed by the European Commission, MEPs said last week. The parliament's environment committee debated the draft rules during a three-day meeting that also featured a major debate on EU chemical policy.

Voting on a report tabled by German MEP Holger Krahmer, the committee said manufacturers should get four-and-a-half years to meet the standards, drafted to support recycling targets in the EU's end-of-life vehicles directive. The Commission proposed giving producers three years; Mr Krahmer had wanted this increased to six years.

The committee said the same rules should require manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with rules banning certain heavy metals in cars. They voted down proposals from Green MEPs to introduce maximum limits on carbon dioxide emissions from new cars. The draft rules now move the parliament's plenary where the rapporteur wants to reach a first-reading agreement with governments.

The committee also agreed a resolution sharply critical of last year's European Commission action plan on environment and health. MEPs said it represented a "major downgrading" of the earlier Scale strategy. They called for "urgent consideration" of wider EU restrictions on phthalates, chlorinated solvents, organophosphates, mercury and cadmium.

In a third vote MEPs backed European Commission plans to restrict trichlorobenzene (TCB) and toluene. They made only one change to Commission proposals, inserting an exemption from the restrictions for TCBs used to make TATB, a compound that makes explosives safer by preventing detonation in the event of fire.

In other committee business MEPs also considered reports tabled on future ways of funding the Natura 2000 conservation network, and on the European Commission's environmental technologies action plan. A vote on a draft EU directive introducing national energy efficiency targets was postponed.

Separately, the parliament's transport committee voted at second reading on plans to introduce sanctions for ships contributing to water pollution. Governments last year said the offence should not lead to criminal proceedings, but MEPs last week said that discharges caused with "intent, recklessness or negligence" should be punishable under criminal law.

They also called for a feasibility study into a possible European coastguard service to police the rules, and greater powers for the European maritime safety agency to trace illegal discharges.

Republished with permission of Environment Daily



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