The Government has launched a consultation acceptance of some international (UNECE) regulations which the UK has signed and thus undertaken to accept. The most important proposal is the latest internationally agreed emissions standards for cars and light goods vehicles, Euro 6e.
The new GB Whole Vehicle Type Approval scheme (GB WVTA) becomes mandatory for all new vehicle types from February 2024, and all models which are to be produced on or after 1 February 2026 of motor vehicles for carrying passengers or goods (known as categories M and N). Within this, vehicles have to be tested for pollutant emissions.
The current Euro 6 emissions standard applying to light duty vehicles (cars and vans) contains sub-steps indicated by letters, with the GB scheme currently requiring Euro 6d.
Internationally, the UNECE have very recently adopted the Euro 6e standard. The EU have also adopted Euro 6e into their type approval scheme which applies to vehicles sold in Northern Ireland under the obligations set out in the Windsor Framework, and thus Euro 6e will become compulsory for vehicles sold in Northern Ireland in due course.
Euro 6e includes changes to the laboratory and on-road test procedures. Overall, it is a more stringent environmental requirement for vehicle manufacturers to meet than Euro 6d, but certification to Euro 6e does not automatically guarantee compliance with Euro 6d.
The Government are therefore proposing to amendments regulations to permit manufacturers to use the UNECE Regulations which contain the Euro 6e requirements (listed in Table 1) to certify compliance with GB requirements for Euro 6d. This will permit cleaner vehicles, improving air quality, without the manufacturers incurring the cost of double testing.
The UK is a contracting party to the UNECE’s 1958 Agreement, Revision 3, the international agreement relating to reciprocal recognition of vehicle approvals.
Manufacturers will be allowed to continue to produce Euro 6d vehicles for the market in Great Britain until further notice: they can continue to demonstrate compliance via Euro 6d testing. Future emissions requirements for vehicles to be sold in GB are being assessed and may be consulted upon in future.
There is a similar situation for heavy-duty vehicles: buses and heavy goods vehicles. The Euro 6 step E emissions standard is specified in UNECE Regulation 49 and is compulsory for new vehicles sold in Northern Ireland, while step D applies in GB, although we understand that the majority of heavy vehicles sold in GB already comply with step E.
We have reviewed the latest UNECE regulation on tyre Installation (Regulation 142) and it is identical to the GB requirements for tyres. We therefore intend to give effect to our international obligations by referring to it in the GB type approval scheme.