Stage IIIB flexibility agreed

By Sandy Guthrie18 November 2011

The question mark over flexibility for engine manufacturers complying with European exhaust emission laws for off-road mobile machines has been removed with the European Parliament approving an increase to 37.5% for the marketing of old-style machines.

CECE (the Committee for European Construction Equipment) has welcomed the decision, saying that it will lead to a smooth transition from engine emission Stage IIIA to IIIB.

The regulations had stipulated that engine manufacturers would be allowed to choose between two options, so that the change to the next level could be a phased move.

The first option was the calculation method, which limited the marketing of old-style machines to 20% of the average of five production years. The alternative was a fixed quantity, which was stipulated in a table.

After a request from CECE, the European Commission proposed an increase to 50% for the calculation method, and a proportional increase in the fixed quantities in the table.

The outcome of the amending directive was an increase to 37.5%, which was lower than CECE was asking for, although the table will see values multiplied by a factor of 2.5, which is equal to the CECE request.

This will be valid for the duration of Stage IIIA, for a maximum of three years.

On 25 October, the European Parliament in Strasbourg approved the increase. In addition, a three-year delay of the introduction of Stage IIIB and Stage IV for vineyard and orchard tractors was also adopted.

The European Council adopted both measures without discussion on 8 November. All members voted in favour apart from Denmark, while Bulgaria abstained.

CECE secretary general Ralf Wezel said, "The battle for increasing flexibility is behind us, the implementation of it is just beginning. It is up to member states now to give a sense to this whole story and transpose this decision into the national legislation as soon as possible."

He added, "The adoption of both provisions of the flexibility file represent an important step forward for our industry. This experience has demonstrated to us that we were right in carrying on our battle.

"As usual in Brussels, bargaining it can unfortunately take quite some time to come to an agreement, but in the end, positive results for the industry can be achieved."

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