An initiative by Kirklees Green Party Councillor Andrew Cooper to direct fines on car manufacturers to improve public transport and local air quality has been supported by a major European Institution. Councillor Cooper made the proposal at a September meeting of the EU Committee of the Regions, the body that represents local government and devolved administrations across the European Union. It was originally agreed in September but right wing groups the European Peoples Party and the European Conservatives & Reformists (which includes the UK Conservative Party) bizarrely backed out of supporting a joint statement they had originally agreed to following a unanimous vote. The statement on the vehicle emissions scandal was put to the vote again but this time was passed by a majority vote but this time with the open opposition of the right wing groups including the UK Conservative Party.
Councillor Cooper said,
"I am delighted that the EU Committee of the Regions has finally come out in favour of a 'polluter pays' principle on vehicle manufacturers who have falsified their emissions tests. The impact of them flouting the law on exhaust fumes has a direct impact on peoples health. The effect on respiratory illnesses is real and we need car manufacturers fines to be invested in cleaner transport alternatives in our communities to help repair the damage they have done.
I simply can't understand why anyone would back car manufacturers who have been forced to admit they cheated on emissions tests against the people who's health could have been adversely affected by this additional pollution.
We now know that car makers have falsified emissions tests on carbon emissions as well. So the issue has become a climate chamge issue as well as a public health matter.
The EU Committee of the Regions has made a strong statement on the scandal we need to push harder on national governments, the European Parliament and European Commission to back this principled stand."
Details of the September EU Committee of the Regions ENVE Commissions meeting
Link to official EU Committee of Regions Pres Statement
Contact - Councillor Andrew Cooper - 07721 348619 firstname.lastname@example.org
A statement from the ENVE Commission of the Committee of the Regions on the automotive emission tests' scandal
The ongoing scandal of certain car manufactures cheating on vehicles (diesel and petrol powered cars) emissions' tests is a matter of great concern for local and regional authorities, as those most affected by these situation are the people living in our towns and cities who breathe in these emissions with serious impact on their health. It has also become clear that similarly misleading information on C02 emissions has been provided by certain manufacturers, which risks undermining our efforts at combatting climate change.
The ENVE commission members welcome the fact that new test cycles which are based on real-world driving conditions will finally be introduced at the EU level, but they wish to express their deep disappointment that national governments in the Council of Ministers have decided to still allow car manufacturers to exceed more than two times the emission limits required by EU law as of 2017, when testing will have to be moved from laboratories to roads. The ENVE members believe this relaxation of rules should not be accepted, as the CoR has previously underlined the crucial importance of addressing air quality problems at source.
Poor air quality is responsible for approximately 400,000 premature deaths in the EU ever year and has a disproportionately severe impact on the health of people with respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, the very young and elderly people.
As representatives of local communities and regions, ENVE members strive to ensure public health of our citizens and we expect national governments and the EU level to do the same and not tolerate fraudulent practises which cause serious harm to our citizens. We also believe that appropriate forms of compensation must be paid by companies found to be responsible and that local authorities should receive a fair share of such compensation for the damages their citizens suffer, and to enable cities and regions to better implement clean-air programmes.