London approval for emissions reduction technology withdrawn

The High Court has upheld the decision of Transport for London's (TfL) Public Carriage Office (PCO) to withdraw approval for a modified emission reduction system manufactured and supplied by ECO-power.

Under the London Air Quality Strategy, published under the Greater London Authority Act, London taxis must comply with emission limit levels for oxides of nitrogen and particulates under the Euro 3 standard. Any modifications made to taxis required to meet this standard must be approved by the PCO on advice of the Energy Savings Trust (EST).

ECO-Power had been granted authorisation for a modified emissions reduction system by TfL’s PCO on the advice of EST.

However, due to poor communication and a series of misunderstandings this approval was based upon a misapprehension that the modified system was in engineering terms the same as an earlier ECO-power emissions reduction system for which approval had already been granted.

Subsequent conformity inspection revealed that the modified system did not meet the Euro 3 standard in terms of emissions of oxides of nitrogen.

TfL’s PCO, on the advice of EST decided to withdraw approval for the all Eco-power emission reduction systems. However, this decision was later reconsidered to extend only to the modified system.

Although the court did acknowledge that the misapprehension, which resulted in the approval of the modified system, had not stemmed from any attempt by ECO-power to mislead, it did hold that PCO’s decision to withdraw approval was lawful.

The court held that PCO was entitled to withdraw approval for the modified system on the grounds that undesirable features in the ECO-Power modified system had come to light in the form of lack of efficacy. Approvals for other ECO-power systems remain unaffected.

This case highlights the fact that although it is always important to ensure that all parties to a negotiation, discussion or communication are ‘reading off the same page’ as it were, this is especially so in situations where complex and detailed technical data is under consideration.

Click below for links to the text of this case and TfL’s reaction to the decision.

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