UK air pollution in the spotlight again after government unveils draft plans
GOVERNMENT has unveiled their draft plans to tackle air pollution and they’re not entirely what most expected they’d be.
The draft plan’s aims are to improve air quality and reduce nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities by identifying the source of the problem and providing measures to counter them. Solutions set out in the draft plan are stated to be in addition to existing plans, the idea being not to replace but rather complement ongoing schemes and incentives, such as the plug-in car grant.
New actions suggested include a low-emission zone in Scotland, real driving emissions to be published immediately and additional funding to increase uptake of both hydrogen vehicles and electric taxis. In addition, retrofitting existing buses with new technology including hybridisation and making regulatory changes to support uptake of alternative fuelled vans. Regarding cars, the draft plan proposes the exploration of appropriate taxation for diesel vehicles and a review of information to ensure wider environmental performance is apparent to consumers when considering purchasing cars including at the point of sale (car fuel efficiency label).
However, some including London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, have criticised the draft plan as not going far enough to tackle the growing problem, which saw the capital breach it’s annual permissive nitrogen levels within the first few days of 2017.
Other much touted measures including a new diesel scrappage scheme for pre-Euro-6 cars has been ignored – a measure often cited as a quick way to put drivers in newer, lower emission vehicles. Many pointed out that the draft plan does favour newer Euro-6 diesels, which have been shown to emit less than their official figures indicate in some independent lab tests. However, others have said this still encourages diesel purchase rather than cleaner alternatives like electric or plug-in hybrid.
Carline Lucas, Green Party MP, took to Twitter to criticise the plan, stating, “No new funding for #CleanAir Zones No taxes on dirty vehicles. No fines on cheating car makers. Plan devoid of real action on