Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: FR DE IT

European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 25 September 2014

Cutting emissions and cutting red tape: a new regulation for off-road engines

The European Commission today proposed 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.

Today's 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.

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,…); even railcars, locomotives and inland waterway vessels fall under the scope of 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 8 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.”

The need for action

Emission limits and approval procedures for engines in NRMM are currently set out in Directive 97/68/EC and its subsequent amendments.

A technical review carried out some time ago identified a number of substantial shortcomings of this Directive, confirming the need for a fundamental review. These findings were also widely echoed by the NRMM stakeholder community.

On these grounds, the work on the new proposal was conducted along the following main axes:

  • Introduction of new emission limits reflecting technological progress and EU policies in the on-road sector, with a view to achieving EU air quality targets;

  • Extension of scope, with a view to improving market harmonisation (EU and international) and minimising the risk of market distortions;

  • Introduction of measures for simplifying administrative procedures and improving enforcement, including conditions for better market surveillance.

The work started off with a public stakeholder consultation back in January 2013. It included regular and intensive consultation of all relevant stakeholders (Member States, associations, industries, NGOs).

Emissions of engines in NRMM to be reduced

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.

Against this background, the Commission proposed today more stringent emission limits for the placing on the market of new engines installed in NRMM. In this way, NRMM with older, more polluting engines will be replaced over time, resulting in a very significant emission reduction overall.

The new Regulation addresses the following major air pollutants: nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydro-carbons (HC), carbon-monoxide (CO) and particulate matters. As for the latter, it introduces in most engine categories - for the first time ever in the NRMM sector – a limit on particle numbers (PN) complementing the limit on particle mass (PM): in this way, emissions of so-called ultrafine particles will also be limited, taking up the most recent conclusive evidence on their adverse health effects.

More information available at:

Contacts :

Miguel Sagredo (+32 2 29 68 58 9)

Sara Tironi (+32 2 299 04 03)

Side Bar