Parliament backs emission curbs for off-road machinery  

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The legislation sets emission limits for CO, HC, NOX and particulate matter (PM)© AP Images/ European Union-EP  

Plans to update EU type approval rules and emission limits for internal combustion engines in non-road mobile machinery (NRMM), such as lawn mowers, bulldozers, diesel locomotives and inland waterway vessels, were backed by MEPs on Wednesday. These plans had already been agreed informally with the Dutch Presidency of the Council. NRMM engines account for about 15% of all NOx and 5% of particulate emissions in the EU.

“We managed to reach a very positive final agreement: a really important balance between environmental protection and the competitiveness of European enterprises”, said lead MEP Elisabetta Gardini (EPP, IT). Her report was approved by 623 votes to 57, with 27 abstentions.

“We have tightened the limits proposed by the European Commission even further for many engines' power ranges, but we kept the approach reasonable enough so that the industry can comply with the new requirements in a short time - and this was the most important goal”, she added.

The legislation defines engine categories, which are divided into sub-categories according to their power range. For each category, it sets emission limits for CO, HC, NOX and particulate matter (PM) and deadlines for implementing them, starting from 2018.

Compared to the existing directive, the legislation covers more types of engines, simplifies administrative procedures and improves enforcement and market surveillance.

Real-world emissions

The plans include a new in-service engine performance monitoring system which should close the current gap between laboratory emission test figures and those measured in the real world.


As advocated by MEPs, the EU Commission will have to assess the possibility of laying down harmonised measures for retrofitting emission control devices to engines. MEPs also won a review clause, with a view to achieving further emission reductions.

Note to editors


The European Environment Agency said in a report published in 2014 that the EU is still far from achieving air quality levels that do not result in unacceptable risks to humans and the environment. The agency estimates that every year, 72,000 premature deaths are attributable to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and 403,000 to particulate matter (PM). The EU Commission estimates that air pollution in the EU costs around €330-940 billion per year.


In September 2014, the EU Commission tabled a proposal for a regulation that would update and replace rules laid down in the existing directive, which no longer reflects the current state of technology.


The new NRMM regulation will cover all kinds of combustion engines, used for example in small handheld equipment, generating sets, harvesting and agricultural machinery, construction machinery, railcars and locomotives, and inland waterway vessels. These engines will have to meet the same requirements, regardless of their fuels, in order to boost innovation in the sector.

Procedure:  Co-decision, 1st reading agreement

15%  ; of Nox emissions in the EU come from NRMM engines