Diesel Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 3rd April 2017.

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Photo of Chris Evans Chris Evans Labour/Co-operative, Islwyn

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of diesel engines on air quality in (a) London and (b) each other region and constituent part of the UK.

Photo of Chris Evans Chris Evans Labour/Co-operative, Islwyn

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to tackle high levels of air pollution (a) in and (b) outside of London.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Last year, the Government published the conclusions to its Vehicle Emissions Testing Programme, which provided a valuable insight into diesel car emissions on our roads. Research found higher levels of nitrogen oxides emissions in test track and real world driving conditions for a range of the best-selling passenger diesel cars compared to laboratory testing. The conclusions of this investigation can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vehicle-emissions-testing-programme-conclusions

In addition, an assessment of the scale of the air quality problem and its sources within specific regions across the UK was set out in the Government’s 2015 national air quality plan for NO2 and accompanying zone plans, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/air-quality-plan-for-nitrogen-dioxide-no2-in-uk-2015

The Mayor of London has responsibility for achieving air quality standards and objectives in London. The Mayor provides the framework and guidance which boroughs use to review and improve air quality within their areas.

The former Mayor announced the Ultra Low Emission Zone back in 2015.

The current Mayor has recently consulted on the introduction of an Emissions Surcharge (the so-called “T-charge”) for older, more polluting vehicles driving into and within central London. Later this year he has indicated his intention to consult on proposals to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone out to the North and South Circular Roads and bring forward its introduction earlier than 2020, along with other measures to improve air quality in London.

More widely, the Government is firmly committed to improving the UK’s air quality and cutting harmful emissions. That is why we have committed over £2 billion since 2011 to reduce transport emissions and the Autumn Statement provided a further £290 million to support greener transport. In light of both updated information on real world emissions from diesel vehicles and the High Court judgement last year, we will be publishing a revised air quality plan for consultation by 24 April and a final plan by 31 July.

In addition, we are developing the Air Pollution Action Plan. This is to tackle the five main pollutants: sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds, ammonia and fine particulate matter. The UK has agreed legally binding national ceilings for emissions of these pollutants by 2020 and 2030. The Government is considering how all sectors of the UK economy can contribute to these ambitious targets.

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