The EU this week moved to curb emissions from vans by imposing new fuel-efficiency targets, although campaigners remain adamant the proposed standards are not stringent enough to reduce businesses' fuel bills.
Environment ministers meeting in Brussels yesterday voted for a deal to cut carbon dioxide emissions from vans by around 14 per cent to an average of 175 grams per kilometre by 2017.
An agreement was reached at the second time of asking, after Germany, home to car giants Mercedes and Volkswagen, objected to a much tougher target of 135 grams per kilometre by 2020, put forward by the European Commission last week.
Germany's environment minister, Norbert Roettgen, hailed the new standards as a good compromise deal. "It achieves substantial CO2 reductions – to my knowledge 27 per cent," he said. "It is feasible, it is a technological challenge, but it keeps us in a leadership position."
EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard similarly welcomed the deal, hailing the new rules as "an important step forward in curbing transport emissions".
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