Three months of sustained industry lobbying came to an end on 10th July when the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to approve a 12 months’ extension of the timetable for the fitting of pre-Stage V transition engines. The decision will save manufacturers having to write off millions of pounds worth of engines which, due to the Covid-19 emergency, could not be fitted into completed machines by the original deadline.
Construction equipment manufacturers breathed a collective sigh of relief when a final vote in the European Parliament backed an amendment to the Stage V regulation (EU) 2016/1628 by 653 votes to 17. The revised regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will take effect retroactively from 1st July 2020. It will be adopted automatically into UK law and applies to transition engines in the power categories <56kW and ≥130kW. The revision delays the relevant deadlines for building machines installed with transition engines from 30th June 2020 to 30th June 2021 and for placing those machines on the market from 31 December 2020 to 31 December 2021.
The outcome comes after a painstaking lobbying process by a task force of European manufacturers’ organisations, including the Committee for European Construction Equipment (CECE) and the European federations for materials handling (FEM), garden machinery (EGMF) and agricultural equipment (CEMA). The problem was identified in March by the Construction Equipment Association when the initial problems with hold ups in the supply chain caused by Covid-19 were reported. OEM reduced time working and factory closures followed within the next few weeks, when it became certain that not all pre-Stage V engine stocks could be incorporated within completed machines by the end of June.
CEA Chief Executive, Rob Oliver, continues, “The rules meant that even if manufacturers had engines ready and waiting to be installed, unless they could be incorporated into the fully assembled machines by the deadline they would have to be scrapped. Our Senior Technical Consultant, Dale Camsell, did a great job as part of the industry team that worked with the European Commission and European Parliamentarians to navigate the intricacies of EU decision-making. Several official European forums had to be persuaded of the urgency of the problem and the fact that a postponement would not contravene the environmental objectives of the emission regulations. In the end the case presented by Riccardo Viaggi at CECE and our allies in other sectors finally got the necessary legal changes over the line”.
The experience with engines in the larger power bands may not be the end of the story. The deadlines for transition engines in the power categories ≥56kW and <130kW remain unchanged at 30 June 2021 and 31 December 2021. Industry representatives and the European Commission will be tracking the effect of Covid-19 on production and markets over the next few months to determine whether these deadlines need to be revisited. If so, then this could presage another lengthy dialogue between industry and the EU authorities.