Fuel Catalysts

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons on 18th July 2019.

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Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Chair, Education Committee

What recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the use of fuel catalysts on vehicle emissions.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Secretary of State for Transport

As one of the ways in which we can reduce emissions of both carbon and other substances emitted from motor vehicles, the potential benefits of fuel additives and catalysts are certainly an area of great interest. Clearly, we need to be certain that there is scientific evidence about whether an individual additive makes a difference or not, but I have tasked my officials with looking clearly at the issue again to see what additions to our fuel can make a difference in the immediate future.

Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Chair, Education Committee

May I briefly thank the Secretary of State for giving us junction 7A on the M11, for which we campaigned in Harlow for more than 30 years?

The all-party parliamentary group on fair fuel for UK motorists and UK hauliers is shortly to publish a report showing that fuel catalysts, produced here in the UK, are an immediate and highly effective way to reduce emissions in urban areas. The APPG estimates that the Exchequer would save about 10% in costs, with an overall reduction in Government vehicle NOx and particulate matter emissions of more than 50%. Will the Minister meet me and Howard Cox, of FairFuelUK, to discuss how we can work on that?

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Secretary of State for Transport

I am happy to have that meeting, and I look forward to the report with interest. Clearly, we should take any steps that we sensibly can to reduce emissions of both harmful particulates and carbon.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

Does the Secretary of State realise the urgency of this issue? These technical innovations are good, but 1 million people are likely to die from poor, filthy air by 2040. When will he wake up? Why will he not admit that the V word—Volkswagen—should have changed the whole world in terms of emissions? He should have taken on the car producers and he has not.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Secretary of State for Transport

One of the things that has happened in the past two years, of course, is the sharp fall in the sales of diesel vehicles. We are now looking at ways to continue the transition to low-carbon vehicles, moving away from diesel, which, for many years, and particularly under the last Government, was the No. 1 strategy for dealing with carbon. Of course we need to continue to clean up air, but under this Government we are introducing clean air zones around the country.