It’s fairly alarming news coming from the Supreme Courts this April. On the 27th, the Department for the Environment was ordered by Britain’s highest court to submit plans by the end of the year detailing exactly how it intends to tackle air pollution in its cities. The UK is already staring down the barrel of a multi million pound fine from the European Commission for failing to cut Nitrogen Dioxide levels (NO2).
So, what is the solution?
What is the cause?
According to Environmental and Motoring groups, diesel vehicles could be to blame. The solution could potentially spell the end for the diesel car. Apparently diesel trucks, vans and people carriers will be hit hardest as the Government clambers to meet its strict EU Air Quality directive of 40 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre which, is already 5 years behind the 2010 deadline.
In 2001, an overhaul of the vehicle excise duty resulted in vehicles that emitted more carbon dioxide paying more excise duty. With diesel engines being around 20% more efficient that petrol engines, it was no surprise that there was a large shift towards diesel resulting in 11 million diesel cars on Britain’s roads today, compared with 1.6 million 10 years ago. The major detail that seemed to be overlooked was the 7,000 deaths each year linked to the fact that diesel vehicles emit 10 times the fine particles and up to twice the nitrogen dioxide. Carbon dioxide being the cause of climate change, and with climate change high on the agenda, penalising petrol vehicles seemed to be the answer.
This has now left diesel vehicle owners feeling they’ve been duped and it also begs the question as to why it has taken the legal system and not the Environmentalists to initiate the downfall of an exhaust emission that comprises a foul mixture of gases and soots containing more than 40 contaminants. In contrast, almost no poisons at all are emitted by modern petrol engines.
What is certain is that fleet owners will be considering their next purchase with slightly more concern than before and there’ll certainly be a few used diesel bargains on the market!
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