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Diesel Air Pollution At Illegal Levels In The UK

By raccars Published

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The government has published a new report, revealing that illegal air pollution levels were detected in 90% of the UK last year, and diesel vehicle exhaust fumes have been given the blame. The report was submitted to the European Commission by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

Out of 43 areas of the UK studied, 38 recorded levels of nitrogen dioxide or NO2 exceeding limits set by the EU. Thousands of cases of serious illness and even death have been linked to the chemical. The 43 UK zones are divided by regional geography and urban density levels. There were only five zones where levels of pollution were within EU limits when tested: Blackpool and Preston in Lancashire, Northern Ireland and the Scottish Borders and Highland. According to the report, diesel powered car exhaust fumes account for the majority of the dirty air problem. About half of the UK's new car sales are of diesel powered vehicles, with petrol powered cars selling a fairly equal amount. Alternative fuel vehicles account for only about 2% of new car sales.

Euro vehicle emissions standards were expected to deliver a reduction in dirty emissions across Europe but, so far, have not had the desired effect, at least not on NO2 concentrations in the UK. London was the worst offender, with pollution levels four times higher than the EU's legal maximum. Levels double the limit were measured in Glasgow, Liverpool and Southampton.

In March legal proceedings were undertaken by the EU against the UK, for exceeding legal limits for pollution.

The results of the report will be controversial, as it emerged this year that after years of pressure by the government to encourage British car drivers to buy diesel for environmental reasons, these cars have now been proved by scientists to be far more polluting than their petrol powered counterparts. London mayor, Boris Johnson, has risked provoking the ire of diesel car owners by proposing an extra congestion charge to diesel cars wishing to enter central London, a plan which is being considered for major cities countrywide. The new charge could take the cost of entering London to more than £20 per day by 2020.

Johnson went even further recently by proposing a new vehicle scrappage scheme to apply to diesel powered cars only, offering drivers money to scrap diesel cars of 10 years of age or older.

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