Tough new emissions targets proposed by European Commission

New rules proposed by the European Union’s legislative arm will see vehicle emissions targets reduced by a third by 2030.

According to Maroš Šefčovič, who is vice-president responsible for the Energy Union, the fleet average target for CO2 emissions will drop to 66.5g/km, 30% less than the 2021 target of 95g/km.

Mr Šefčovič said: “We have entered an era of climate-friendly economic transformation.

“Today’s set of proposals is setting the conditions for European manufacturers to lead the global energy transition rather than follow others.”

He says the new target will “entice” automakers to produce the cleanest and most competitive vehicles.

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The proposals are aimed at encouraging motorists to take up zero-emission vehicles, and form part of the Union’s plans to fulfil its commitment to the Paris Agreement – the United Nations framework convention on climate change.

“This is a major leap in the right direction: a modern sustainable European economy with cleaner air in our cities and better integration of renewables into present and future energy systems,” Mr Šefčovič added.

Despite the intent behind the proposals, there are concerns in Britain that the targets are “potentially unrealistic”.

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Mike Hawes, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, is sceptical of the targets, saying: “Plug-in electric cars account for less than 2% of the UK market and, whilst there are 45 models on the market and many more introductions planned for 2018 and beyond, increasing the take up of such low-emission vehicles is not solely in the gift of industry.

“Major investments in infrastructure and consistent government incentives and fiscal measures are essential.”

Mr Hawes is calling on the Government to maintain the competitiveness of transport markets by promoting low-emission diesel vehicles. He says internal combustion engines play a “critical role” in meeting these challenging targets.

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