Tough ozone and air emissions ceilings backed by MEPs vote

The European Parliament has largely backed the EC and its own Environment Committee in a first reading vote on limits for ground level ozone and for four groups of pollutants that contribute to ozone.

At its 15 March session, MEPs voted in favour of the EC’s proposed limits for sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC) and ammonia (NH3). MEPs also agreed with the EC on maximum ground level ozone levels (see related story).

The vote pits the EP against the Council of Ministers, which has already voted against the EC’s proposed limits once (see related story). At the very least, the Greek and Spanish environment ministers are expected to vote against the EC’s proposals.

Conciliation talks, which would aim to find a compromise between the EP’s position and that of the Council of Ministers, will only take place if, at their next vote, MEPs achieve an absolute majority vote in favour of the tougher limits. Such an absolute majority was not achieved at this first reading.

The EP also passed an amendment calling on the EC to “submit without delay the overdue proposals amending emission rules for two-and three-wheeled vehicles and emission rules for mobile machinery and appliances”. The amendment also states that “provision should be made for emission rules for new appliances with small motors (e.g. power saws and lawnmowers)”.

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