Page last updated at 09:25 GMT, Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Van manufacturers to meet new emissions targets

MEPs have broadly welcomed new EU regulations limiting CO2 emissions from newly built vans.

On 15 February 2011, the European Parliament debated a proposal by the European Commission to set a maximum emissions limit of 135 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

However following concerns that this could create excessive costs for the automotive industry, MEPs and the Council of Ministers have struck a compromise agreement, easing the limit to 147 grams.

Under the regulation, 70% of a manufacturer's fleet would have to meet the emissions target by 2014, increasing to 100% by 2017.

The Parliament's rapporteur - or report author - on the draft regulation is British Conservative leader Martin Callanan.

Opening the debate, he said it was a good compromise, as there was less scope to modify vans to make them more fuel efficient than there was for cars, which are already subject to EU regulations.

He said that he was accused of being both excessively pro-industry and pro-environmentally friendly, a sign, he claimed, that the right balance had been struck.

'Weak' compromise

However MEPs in the green and far-left GUE groups said they would refuse to support the agreement.

Swedish green MEP Carl Schlyter described the compromise as "weak".

He criticised the decision by Mr Callanan to reduce the penalties on van manufacturers that break the emissions limit.

The proposal for a €120 (£101) fine for each gram of CO2 over the limit is likely to be reduced to €95 (£80).

German liberal Holger Krahmer said critics of the compromise needed to "get back to reality", and do what was economically possible.

At the voting session later in the day, the agreement was backed by 520 votes to 122.

Read Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work here.

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