European Emission Standards for Engines

June 14, 2018

European emission standards for engines used in new non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) have been changing since 2002.

The equipment covered by the emissions standard includes industrial drilling rigs, compressors, construction wheel loaders, bulldozers, non-road trucks, highway excavators, forklift trucks, road maintenance equipment, snowploughs, ground support equipment in airports, aerial lifts and mobile cranes. Agricultural and forestry tractors had the same emission standards but different implementation dates. Water way vessels are also now in the standard.

Regulatory information on emission standards for non-road engines can be found on the European Commission web site. Useful information regarding emission standards can also be found on TFLs website.

For detailed and confident assessment to ascertain if your drilling rigs or other plant and machinery actually comply to a certain emission standard then you must consult online information supplied by various government departments and your engine supplier. On discovering what emissions standard your equipment meets it will be up to you to then compare that information with the local authority’s requirements where you are working and as is becoming increasingly the case, what your Client or Principle Contractors requirements for the project are.

Emissions history and International Standards relationship for non-road emissions1
Year (approx.) EU2 US Euro Engine3 (approx)
2001 – 2003 Stage I Tier 1 Euro 1 – Euro 2
2004 – 2005 Stage II Tier 2 Euro 2 – Euro 3
2006 – 2013 Stage III A Tier 3 Euro 4
2013 – 2014 (June) Stage III B Interim Tier 4 Euro 4 – Euro 5
2014 (July) – 2018 Stage IV A Final Tier 4 Euro 5 – Euro 6
2018 – 2019 Stage IV B Final Tier 4 Euro 6 – Euro?
2019 – ???? Stage V Tier 5 (Yet to be confirmed) Euro?


  1. It is important to understand ‘Stage’ and ‘Tier’ are the EU and US respective terms for standards that drive progressive reduction of combustion engine emissions.
  2. EU ‘Stage’ standards are split between engine output powers. They also differ for fuel type. As such the dates of introduction slightly differ. There is also a difference between road use categories and non road use categories. The above table shows the general progression of non road use categories.
  3. Euro 1 to 6 are the engine manufacturers standards which identify engines designed to meet different emissions standards. The Euro engine designation is not directly comparable with a ‘Stage’or ‘Tier’ standard.
  4. Manufacturers can still sell ‘built engines’off the shelf of a lesser emission standard for 2 years after the new emission standard comes into force.
  5. If you use a machine with emissions exceeding the limits of an ‘authority designated emissions zone‘then you will have to pay a daily fee or may not be able use that machine at all.
  6. If a machine with an out of date engine emission standard has that engine replaced then that new engine must meet the current ‘Stage’emissions standard.
  7. Stage V legislation commits the European Commission to produce two reports on future emission regulations for non-road use engines:
    1. By the end of 2018 – An assessment of the possibility of adopting measures for the installation of retrofit emission control devices in existing, in-use non-road engines.
    2. By the end of 2020 – An assessment of further pollutant emission reduction potential, and the identification of potentially relevant pollutant types that do not fall within the scope of the Stage V regulation.

BDA members must realise this drive to reduce emissions is constant and inevitable. The goal posts are always changing. It is up to individual companies to manage this change. One thing is for certain try to maintain your fleet with the most efficient engines with the lowest emissions.

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