Readers of these NOTES may know of my long running battle to get Daimler, manufacturers of £70,000 Mercedes cars, to apply the EU law that I helped shape requiring car companies to start using air conditioning refrigerants in their new models with a global warming potential (gwp) less than 150 more than CO2. At present most cars have refrigerants with a horrendous gwp 1.430 greater than CO2.
I hope the torrent of parliamentary questions (PQs) I have tabled, and exchanges I have had with European Commission officials, have encouraged them to enforce the law as firmly as they can, but I also know that the legal process is painfully slow - especially when a member state (Germany) is claiming that there are 'scientific' reasons for their objections.
But now the French have cut the Gordian knot. While our UK (Tory) minister has decided to leave it all up to Brussels, the French have stepped in and simply banned the registration of new Mercedes vehicles. So in France you can buy one of the non-compliant vehicles but you can't drive it on French roads.
Daimler sell 29,000 of the relevant cars in France each year so they have gone ballistic! I thought the French government or the European Commission might bow to arm twisting by Germany, but last week the Commission came out with a declaration that in effect said that France was within its rights.
Vive la France!