Emissions from non-road mobile machinery and the role of urban/spatial planning

Non-road mobile machinery cause in particular nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions. The main sources in this category are agriculture and construction work machinery. Urban/spatial planning and the emissions linked to construction/building projects were thoroughly discussed in the dedicated dialogue session.

Reduction of non-road mobile machinery emissions has been flagged as a priority in the Dutch National Air Pollution Control Programme and in the Clean Air Agreement. The aim is to go towards “zero emission mobile machinery”, by e.g. an endeavour to phase out older diesel mobile machinery and mobile tools without particulate filters and stimulating the development and uptake of zero emission mobile machinery.

Cities and regions have a specific opportunity for emissions reduction in their approach to public procurement, including public procurement for construction works and the deployment of non-road mobile machinery. The Netherlands is considered one of the frontrunners in the EU on green public procurement7. It has a national target to reduce annual CO2 emissions from public procurement projects by over 1 million tonnes by 2021. Public procurement is complex and expected to take into account a range of objectives; for the building sector, environmental and pollution aspects would however be a clearly advantageous complement to the climate related procurement criteria.

Nitrogen oxides are often emitted unnecessarily during idle running of non-road mobile machinery; this was mentioned as an opportunity for emission reductions. This needs to be addressed primarily by the operators and the building sector. Information campaigns and awareness raising coupled with stricter rules and demands on good conduct on building sites could be further considered and implemented.

A bottleneck for the roll-out of cleaner non-road mobile machine fleet is the low market availability e.g. of electric non-road mobile machinery. European CO2 or zero-emission standards are still lacking for non-road mobile mobility. Clear public procurement criteria, preferably coordinated across the internal market, could help stimulate production and make clean technology more available and affordable.

On the machine side, there may also be scope for further emission reduction by stricter inspections and enforcement of rules to stop any tampering with or removal of e.g. particle filters. It was noted that stricter EU emission standards and norms for new mobile machinery would help the national efforts in this regard.