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Belgium to adopt PTI-PN test for DPF inspections

7 April 2021

The three regions of Belgium—the Flemish and Walloon Regions and the Brussels-Capital Region—have reached an agreement to implement a particle number test during the annual vehicle inspection of diesel cars (PTI-PN), to detect tampering with diesel particulate filters (DPF). The new PTI test is to become effective from 1 July 2022 at the latest.

The decision has been announced in a press release by the Flemish Mobility Minister Lydia Peeters, the Brussels Mobility Minister Elke Van den Brandt, and the Walloon Minister of Road Safety Valerie De Bue. No official regulations have yet been published.

The focus of the measure is to prevent a deliberate removal of particulate filters from diesel vehicles. In the first phase, all Euro 5b and later diesel cars and vans are to be checked. In time, the ministers intend to study whether this measure can be extended to trucks, buses and petrol vehicles.

If a vehicle emits more than 1 million particles per cm3, it receives a red card, and the broken or removed DPF must be replaced within fourteen days. If a vehicle emits less than 250,000 particles per cm3, it receives a green card. A transition period of 2 years will be provided for cars that are in the gray zone between 250,000 and 1 million particles per cm3.

“With the use of the particle counter test, Belgium is taking the lead in Europe in the fight against particulate filter fraud. Our air quality and health are of enormous importance. We did not take things overnight and consulted with the other regions and sought advice from Europe. The particulate filter fraud has been discussed for a long time, we are now tackling it. Moreover, this is in line with the commitments of the 2030 Air Policy Plan,” said Lydia Peeters. “By tackling particulate filter fraud in unison, the regions prevent drivers from doing car inspection shopping,” added Elke Van den Brandt.

Current periodic technical inspections (PTI) in Belgium and other EU countries are not able to detect diesel vehicles with defective or removed particulate filters. In 2016, in recognition of this problem, an informal new PTI (NPTI) working group was established through an initiative of the VERT Association and several Dutch agencies. The NPTI group has developed technical recommendations for a procedure to detect malfunctioning or missing DPFs using relatively simple and inexpensive, portable particle counting instruments.

The Netherlands was the first country to adopt the new PTI-PN requirements for DPF inspections. Two instruments have been approved for the PTI-PN program: the TSI NPET and the TEN AEM particle counter.

Source: Minister Lydia Peeters | CITA