Measures proposed for the EU would require better policing of type approval procedures and audits of vehicle test houses by both experts from EU member states and the European Commission itself, as well as regular inspections by national type approval authorities, which themselves would be subject to periodic peer review.
Testing houses would also become more independent, and not be allowed to receive money from vehicle manufacturers to test cars and components. Instead, fees will be paid by manufacturers to EU member states and then paid out to the testing houses.
If manufacturers offer fake declarations or use a defeat device similar to that used by Volkswagen, they could face a fine of up to €30,000 – similar to the $37,500 penalties available under the USA’s Clean Air Act. Test houses could also be fined.
The UK government is forming a new market surveillance unit with a particular focus on emissions. It will combine elements of the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). It will have an annual budget of £1m and also look at spare parts like tyres and catalytic converters.
The details emerged in a series of letters published this month by the House of Commons Transport Committee. In them, Louise Ellman MP, chair of the committee, describes the current legal framework that governs emissions testing as “unfit for purpose”, particularly when it comes to enforcing the rules. This follows Volkswagen’s ability to cheat government vehicle type approval using software that recognised when a vehicle was being tested and reduce the car’s emissions levels accordingly.