One in four cars on Czech roads exceed emissions limits

Photo: ČTK/Michal Kamaryt

Nearly one in four vehicles on Czech roads exceeds permitted emissions limits, an inspection carried out by the ministries of transport and environment this summer suggest. The alarming figures, presented this week, come nearly a year after the introduction of stricter rules in emissions testing for vehicles.

Richard Brabec,  photo: archive of Ministry of Environment
Over the course of June, July and August, the Czech police and Road Transport Services Centre experts measured car emissions directly in the streets of Prague and its close vicinity. Altogether, police officers carried out 400 common traffic controls. Of these, 141 vehicles were randomly selected for emissions control, carried out with the help of a special mobile unit.

The inspection revealed that 33 of those vehicles, or nearly 25 percent, did not comply with the current emissions requirements. Richard Brabec is the Minister of Environment:

“This is quite a significant number, and there might be various factors behind it. But all of them are somehow linked to malfunctioning exhaust pipes, diesel particulate filters or to the related electronic detectors.”

Besides damaged exhaust pipes, most frequently caused by insufficient maintenance, technicians also revealed malfunctions of emissions control units and engine defects. The vehicles that didn’t pass the emissions control were required to undergo another technical inspection within the next 30 days.

Mr Brabec says the Ministry of Environment plans to carry out more extensive emissions controls in the future:

“We don’t want to create new repressions, but we definitely want to continue with these check-ups.

“We will have three mobile units available next year, and we want to use them not only in Prague, but also elsewhere in the country.”

The Czech Ministry of Transport introduced stricter rules in emissions testing for vehicles at the start of the year.

Under the new, stricter rules, technicians must take a picture of the car and submit electronic documentation of the tests performed to the Transport Ministry’s online system.

Photo: ČTK/Michal Kamaryt
The new legislation aims to prevent cars with faulty or missing diesel particle filters from running in the streets. It was also designed to prevent technical inspection stations from issuing fake certificates to vehicle owners.

But, according to Libor Fleischhans, an expert on car emissions, most of the country’s technical inspection stations are still bypassing the rules, mostly because they fear they would otherwise lose customers:

“It is not just individuals who are cheating, but mainly car markets and VIP customers, such as haulage companies, which need their vehicles to remain in operation at all costs.

“A carrier company has 50 or 80 vehicles, and that means more commissions for the inspection. So, there are various agreements between these stations and their customers, which is a well-known fact.”

Meanwhile, the concentration of pollutants created by motor vehicles, such as nitrogen oxide and airborne dust particles, remains a serious problem in Prague and other cities across the Czech Republic, where levels regularly exceed permitted limits.