COM(2007) 313 final

Report on the possibilities of further improving the environmental characteristics of recreational creaft engines

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Directive 94/25/EC (the Recreational Craft Directive – RCD) lays down the essential requirements for the design and construction of recreational craft to be fulfilled to enable the free circulation of these products in the Internal Market. The RCD has been amended by Directive 2003/44/EC, which specifies harmonised limits for exhaust and noise emissions craft have to comply with to have free access to markets throughout the Union. Article 2 of Directive 2003/44/EC, requests the Commission to submit by end 2006 a report on the possibilities of further improving the environmental characteristics of engines and to consider inter alia the need to revise the boat design categories and by end 2007 if deemed appropriate, in the light of this report, appropriate proposals to the European Parliament and the Council. In response to this request, the Commission has undertaken the following actions: (1) A stocktaking study, making a detailed inventory and comparative assessment of the current status and developments in technology and legislation worldwide concerning the environmental performance of recreational marine engines. This study resulted in the identification of four possible scenarios for further reducing the exhaust emission limits. It also addressed in detail the elements (a) to (f) mentioned above. (2) An impact assessment study, identifying and measuring in detail the impacts and distributive effects of the four possible scenarios for further reducing the exhaust emission limits and comparing these impacts through a multi-criteria analysis, using the status quo as the baseline option for this comparison. (3) A series of consultation meetings with stakeholders (Member States Authorities, Industry and User Associations), to inform concerned parties about the work undertaken and the progress achieved in the course of the above mentioned studies, and collect their comments on the findings. (4) In the context of the EU-US Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue, a round of meetings has taken place between the Commission services, the US Environmental Protection Agency and recreational marine industry to explore the possibilities for aligning future recreational craft emission legislation in the US and the EU. In the light of the limited experience gained with the application of the amended RCD and taking into account the findings of the report with regard to each of the elements specified in Article 2 of Directive 2003/44/EC, the Commission envisages to further explore the possibilities for maximising the emission reduction potential of recreational craft. This would require an assessment of the impact the application of the most stringent, technology driving emission limits for recreational craft engines could have on climate protection and on the competitiveness of the EU industry and any accompanying measures that would be necessary to mitigate the social costs. Depending on the outcome of this further assessment the Commission could consider tabling appropriate proposals at a later stage.

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