Flexibility provisions

15 April 2008

As with stage II, europe's stage IIIA laws on diesel engine exhaust gas emissions from non-road mobile machinery are being introduced over several years in different powerbands.

The process began at the start of 2006, with the 130 to 560 kW powerband, and this year the laws are applied to 19 to 37 kW and 75 to 130 kW engines.

Any new piece of construction equipment placed on the EU market with a diesel engine in one of the above powerbands must now comply with Stage IIIA. However, within the laws there is the Sell-Off provision for engine manufacturers and the Flexibility Scheme for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to help ease the transition. Under these provisions, machines with Stage II engines can still be sold in the EU, provided they meet certain criteria.

Sell-Off Provision

The Sell-Off provision recognises that market uncertainties mean engine makers may still be holding previously built stock that complies with the old laws after the introduction of the new Stage. In such cases they can still place 'previous stage' engines on the market for up to two years after the implementation date of the new stage for any particular powerband.

The only requirement is that the engine must have been manufactured prior to the new law's implementation date. For example, although Stage IIIA has been in place for 19 to 37 kW engines since the start of 2007, engines in this powerband that are only Stage II-compliant can be placed on the market until 31 December 2008, provided they were manufactured before 31 December 2006 then it's a legal engine.


The Flexibility provision allows OEMs to sell a limited number of machines fitted with 'previous stage' engines after the next stage has come into force. In order to do this they must get permission from any one of the Member States' 'Approval Authorities'. The engine manufacturer is able to provide old stage engines produced after the Stage comes into force. This is an exception.

Permission will be for a specific powerband, and manufacturers cannot transfer Flexibility Allowances between powerbands. OEMs are also prohibited from trading or transferring their Flexibility allowances to other equipment manufacturers.

OEMs have two options for determining the number of old stage engines allowed under the Flexibility Scheme. They can choose either a fixed amount per powerband (as laid down in the text of the laws), or opt for a percentage of their sales in each powerband (this is also limited). Different approaches can be used for different powerbands, but OEMs are not allowed to mix elements of the fixed and percentage options within a single powerband.

It is important to note that the Flexibility and Sell-Off Provisions are independent of each other. This means that in addition to Flexibility allowances, an OEM could manufacturer additional 'old stage' machines, provided their engines were produced in compliance with the Sell-Off Provision.

It is also worth mentioning that both only go back one stage. This means only Stage II engines can be used, and there is no way a Stage I or 'Stage 0' engine can be used now Stage IIIA is coming into force.

Only New

Europe's off-highway emissions laws only apply to newly built engines, and therefore machines. There is no requirement to retro-fit used equipment with new engines. This also principle also applies to old machines requiring replacement engines.

Such replacements only have to be up to the same stage law as that of the originally installed engine, regardless of the prevailing law for new equipment at the time.

For more information about the Sell-Off and Flexibility provisions, please visit CECE's website: www.cece-eu.org

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