Monday

19th Aug 2019

Belgian official feels 'deceived' by car industry

  • The region of Brussels is planning to ban old diesel cars (Photo: Peter Teffer)

The discrepancy between emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) on the road and in test laboratories came back into the political limelight in Belgium on Thursday (2 June), as test results showed that diesel cars emitted on average three to four times as much NOx as EU limits allowed for.

“We are being deceived by the automotive industry,” an angry transport and environment minister for the Wallonia region said.

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“Nothing proves that the car manufacturers have committed fraud. But these results show without a doubt that the European tests are useless,” said minister Carlo Di Antonio.

The minister had 38 diesel cars tested, and four of them exceeded the limits by five times, Belgian newspapers De Tijd and L'Echo reported.

European Commission spokeswoman Lucia Caudet told reporters that the discrepancy was known already, and that the commission is still analysing similar investigations by the German and UK authorities, published at the end of April.

“We still don't have enough information to draw definitive conclusions,” said Caudet.

The news came on the same day as it emerged in the Belgian press that the regional government of Brussels is planning to introduce a low emissions zone in the country's - and the EU's - capital city.

As of 2018, diesel cars in the Euro 1 category, and later also those in the Euro 2 category, will be banned, Le Soir newspaper said.

Examples of Euro 1 cars include Peugeot 205, Ford Escort and Opel Astra I, while Euro 2 includes the VW Golf IV, Renault Megan I and Citroen Xantia.

As cities and regions are struggling to stay below emissions ceilings, they are looking towards options like banning the most polluting cars from their cities.

Read more about dieselgate in our investigation section

Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'

Following an investigation into the Dieselgate scandal, the European Parliament recommended a single commissioner should be responsible for both air quality and setting industrial standards. But only the Greens want to commit to carry out that advice.

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