Government reveals plan to cut emissions in towns and cities

London smog

Retrofitting of the highest-polluting cars with emission-reducing equipment and clean air zones have been proposed in an attempt to improve air quality in the UK

The Government is proposing a number of measures to reduce emission levels in cities and towns around the country, including the retrofitting of emission-reducing equipment to the highest polluting cars and the wider spread introduction of clean air zones.

The plan outlines how a so-called Clean Air Zone would be implemented, stating that vehicles meeting a minimum standard would gain free entry into the zone. This would include diesel cars with Euro6 standards and petrol cars with Euro4 standards.

Fully electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles would not be charged while hybrid vehicles which meet minimum emissions requirements could also be exempt.

The Government also announced it is developing an accreditation scheme for retrofitting vehicles, which will launch this year, to ensure vehicle owners can be confident that the retrofit technologies applied will provide the necessary emissions reductions for free entry into a clean air zone. 

However, there is no mention of a diesel scrappage scheme in the plan which had been widely rumoured to be part of the government’s plan to address air quality.

The proposals are laid out in a draft plan from the Government called the Clean Air Zone Framework, released today, which intends to improve air quality by reducing nitrogen dioxide levels in the UK.

The plans are now open for public consultation until 15th June, ahead of the final air quality plan’s publication on 31st July. 

Ministers were ordered to draw up the new clean air plans following a court challenge by environmental lawyers ClientEarth. This followed a High Court ruling that existing Government proposals to meet EU-mandated limits were not sufficient.

A Government spokesman said: “The options now open for consultation on reducing nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities are designed to reduce the impact of diesel vehicles, and accelerate the move to cleaner transport.

He continued: “Local authorities are already responsible for improving air quality in their area, but will now be expected to develop new and creative solutions to reduce emissions as quickly as possible, while avoiding undue impact on the motorist. The government is consulting on a range of measures that could be taken to mitigate the impact of action to improve air quality.”

Coventry-based car maker Jaguar Land Rover has said it welcomes “the consultation recognising the fundamental difference between older vehicles which contribute to air pollution and clean, new diesels which are part of the air quality solution”.

Managing director Jeremy Hicks said its latest Eu6 diesel engines were “among the cleanest in the world, with CO2 emissions around 20% lower than equivalent petrol engines,” adding that Jaguar Land Rover is continuing to invest in cleaner technology with £1bn invested at its Engine Manufacturing Centre near Wolverhampton, as well as a major hybrid and electrification programme.

However, Hicks added: “Older car engines are just one potential source of urban air pollutants, and we’d be keen to see the strategy tackling air quality across a range of pollution sources including heating, public transport and shipping.”

More to come…

Read more:

Is it time to say goodbye to diesel?

Diesel engines: your questions answered

Diesel engines: what comes out of your car’s tailpipe?

London and Paris announce real-world emissions testing for cars

Source: Autocar Online

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