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Today the Council adopted a directive that will decrease harmful emissions from petrol vapour at service stations ( + ). The new act obliges numerous filling stations to install equipment recovering harmful gases that escape when refuelling cars and other vehicles.
Already now, service stations in the EU need to capture the vapour arising from the delivery of petrol to their storage tanks. With the new law, emissions will be further reduced as petrol stations must additionally recover at least 85% of the gases that escape when refuelling vehicles. Petrol vapour contains the carcinogen benzene as well as hydrocarbons, which can form ground-level ozone, a pollutant harmful to human health and ecosystems.
The new act foresees that all but the smallest stations be fitted with the relevant equipment when they are newly constructed or undergoing refurbishment. The biggest stations, with a throughput of more than 3000 cubic metres per year, are obliged to install the new technology by 2018.
Member states must bring into force all laws necessary to comply with this directive by 1 January 2012.
The draft directive was presented by the Commission in December 2008. It was adopted at first-reading in the co-decision procedure, with the European Parliament having voted in May 2009.