Abu Dhabi // Transport officials have postponed indefinitely plans to impose toughened vehicle emissions standards and a halt to the import of vehicles more than five years old. The decision is a reprieve for many car owners who might have had to pay for expensive repairs to emission systems, or whose cars might have been banned outright. It followed a decree last month by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE, to postpone a measure banning vehicles more than 20 years old.
The decree meant that other regulations associated with that law will have to be postponed, said Ebitsam al Kaaiti, a spokeswoman for the National Transport Authority. The authorities needed more time to finalise procedures for gathering and exporting vehicles in violation of the rules, said Hamad al Matroushi, the head of the Federal Environment Agency's impact-assessment department. The UAE does not have sufficient facilities for scrapping cars and it was a matter of "getting the competent authorities within the seven emirates to be ready for getting rid of these types of cars".
Arrangements are to be made with private companies that will be responsible for exporting the vehicles. Exceptions are also to be made for classic cars, though what would qualify as "classic" has not been defined. Had the law gone into effect on Jan 1 as planned, vehicles having their emissions tested when their registration came up for renewal would have had to produce fewer than 500 hydrocarbon emission parts per million in their exhausts.
Carbon monoxide exhaust emissions were also to be reduced from 4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, and tests for nitrogen oxide were to be conducted for the first time. Also delayed is a ban on importing used light vehicles older than five years and on heavy vehicles and buses that are older than seven. Under the proposed plan, more than 420,000 light vehicles were to be taken off the road by the end of 2010, including 144,000 cars that would be at least 20 years old next year.