The establishment of a new emissions authority follows the Volkswagen 'dieselgate' scandal.
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The French government has developed a new transport agency to detect emissions tampering in vehicles, according to a new report.

The agency – known as the Surveillance Service for the Vehicle and Motor Market (SSMVM) – comes as the result of a European Union directive issued following the Volkswagen Group’s emission scandal also known as ‘dieselgate’.

As reported by Automotive News Europe, the SSMVM will have the power to issue harsh penalties for manufacturers found to be tampering with their vehicles’ emissions figures.

These penalties range from warnings to market recalls and criminal prosecution – with fines of up to €300,000 (AU$491,000) for each offending engine and €1 million (AU$1.6 million) per car that does not conform.

The SSMVM is expected to perform 100 tests annually, with an initial budget of €5 million (AU$8.2 million).

France’s agency comes after similar initiatives by the UK and Italy following an order from the EU in the wake of Volkswagen’s emissions scandal.

Known as Dieselgate, Volkswagen’s emissions fraud saw it admit to manipulating the software of its turbo-diesel engines to reduce emissions during test conditions.

Once off the test bench, cars fitted with the software 'defeat device' would emit significantly more NOx.

The software affected approximately 11 million cars sold between 2009 and 2015 worldwide.