The European Commission has proposed new measures will cut emissions of major air pollutants from engines in non-road mobile machinery and cut the complexity of the legal framework for the sector.

The proposal provides for more stringent emission limit values for internal combustion engines installed in non-road mobile machinery (NRMM). At the same time, it sets out harmonised rules for placing those engines on the EU market.

The Commission says compared to vehicles for use on roads, NRMM covers a very wide variety of machinery typically used off the road in manifold applications. It comprises, for example, small gardening and handheld equipment (lawn mowers, chain saws,…), construction machinery (excavators, loaders, bulldozers,…) and agricultural & farming machinery (harvesters, cultivators,…).

It also says engines installed in NRMM contribute significantly to air pollution and are accountable for roughly 15% of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) and 5% of the particulate matter (PM) emissions in the EU. Moreover, studies indicate that their relative contribution to the total NOx emissions could become bigger over time, should efforts and technical progress in the on-road sector not be carried over to NRMM.

The new Regulation will replace a patchwork of 28 national laws on this matter. It will also repeal an extremely complex directive comprising 15 Annexes and amended eight times since it was adopted in 1997.

Besides improving air quality throughout the EU, the new proposal provides the NRMM sector with a predictable and stable regulatory framework that is fit for the future: a clear focus in this context was therefore put on international alignment of technical requirements, particularly with a view to bringing those of the EU and the US closer together. This will ensure a level playing field for European industry and avoid unfair competition from low-cost imports of non-regulated machinery. Beyond that, the proposal is expected to alleviate the pressure on individual Member States for additional regulatory action at national level that would eventually hamper the internal market.

Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: “By simplifying the existing legislation, improving transparency and lightening the administrative burden, today´s proposal contributes to the competitiveness of European industry. We aim to help non-road mobile machinery suppliers, a key industrial sector, to reap the full benefits of the internal market and to help EU enterprises to be more successful abroad. At the same time, our proposal will lead to a very significant reduction of air pollution emissions and hence protect the health of European citizens. Good for business and good for the environment.”