These Regulations implement Article 11 of EU Regulation No 715/2007. This requires Member States to prohibit the sale and installation of pollution control devices which are replacement parts for vehicles approved to the emissions standards in the Regulation if they are not of a type in respect of which type approval has been granted in accordance with the EU Regulation as supplemented by EU Regulation No 692/2008. The latter sets out marking and information requirements as well as the procedures for obtaining a type approval. Pollution control devices are parts intended to ensure the vehicle meets the emission requirements and include catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters.
The Regulations also implement a requirement in Article 11 that Member States prohibit the sale and installation of replacement catalytic converters intended for certain vehicles approved to Directive 70/220/EEC, the EU emissions legislation that preceded Regulation No 715/2007, unless the replacements have also been approved to those emissions standards. In the Regulations, a reference to a catalytic converter of any particular description is to a catalytic converter for the purposes of Directive 70/220/EEC and a reference to a pollution control device includes a catalytic converter for the purposes of Regulation No 715/2007 (but also includes particulate filters used on diesel vehicles for similar purposes.)
Subject to certain exceptions, new cars and vans must be of a type that has been “type approved” in order to be registered for use on public roads in the United Kingdom. One of the conditions of type approval is that the type of car or van must have satisfied certain emissions requirements.
In the United Kingdom the most recent relevant type approval legislation is the Road Vehicles (Approval) Regulations 2009 (the Approval Regulations). These Regulations transpose Directive 2007/46/EC which mandates a type approval system within the European Community for, amongst other things, cars and vans. That Directive replaced Directive 70/156/EEC which also mandated a system of type-approval within the Community (transposed by the predecessors of the Approval Regulations). The requirements of Directive 2007/46/EC are being phased in beginning with M1 vehicles (passenger vehicles with no more than 8 seats in addition to the driver’s); and this is provided for by the Approval Regulations. Any new type of M1 vehicle must, on or after 29th April 2009, be approved in accordance with Directive 2007/46/EC rather than Directive 70/156/EEC. Other Member States have, of course, implemented those Directives.
The emission standards are often referred to as “Euro standards.” These were first introduced into Directive 70/220/EC and the standards have been made more demanding over time with the Euro 3 and 4 standards coming into effect respectively in 2001 and 2006. Any petrol car or vans complying with Euro 3 and 4 would be fitted with a catalytic converter. Euro 5 and 6 are more stringent standards contained in EU Regulations No 715/2007 and 692/2008. Vehicles have been able to obtain type approvals to Euro 5 since August 2008 and this standard will become mandatory for new type approvals from September 2009. Compliance with the Euro 6 standard will become mandatory for new type approvals from September 2014. It is anticipated that any diesel car or van will require a particulate filter when complying with Euro 5 and a catalytic converter and particulate filter when complying with Euro 6.
The Regulations have the broad effect of prohibiting (except for vehicles first used before 1st March 2001) the supply of non-type approved catalytic converters for motor vehicles that are approved to EU Regulation 715/2007, the earlier standards of Directive 70/220/EEC, as amended, or UN ECE Regulation 83 (which the EU type approval process accepts as an equivalent alternative).