UK fuel and transport firms say government must grasp opportunity to incentivise new clean transport technology
In light of this weekâ€™s Supreme Court ruling that Defra must produce a new air quality plan, UK transport fuel and technology firms have called for greater support to encourage low emission innovations.
Autogas said that the UK had â€œsleep-walked into the current air quality crisisâ€ and called for government and businesses to support and promote alternative transport fuel solutions.
And, London-based Dearman â€“ which produces zero emission transport refrigeration technology â€“ said the fact that Defra must now send a new air quality plan to the European Commission by the end of 2015 to meet EU nitrogen dioxide limits (see AirQualityNews.com story) was a â€œpositive for companies like oursâ€.
Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supplier Autogas Ltd, a joint venture between petrol firms Shell and Calor, said the Supreme Court judgement was â€œextremely significant as it backs up the opinion that due to mis-judged government policy and incentives, the UK has sleep-walked into the current air quality crisisâ€.
A spokesman for the firm said the government was favouring electric vehicles above other transport alternatives, rather than recognising the â€œfull basketâ€ of options available.
The Autogas spokesman said: â€œClearly there is not a â€˜silver bulletâ€™ solution to the air quality problem as different transport needs do require a range of fuelling solutions. Itâ€™s therefore important that the government recognises and regularly talks about the full basket of alternative transport fuels available in equal measures, as well as offering incentives across them all too, rather than favouring one particular type, as is it currently tends towards with electric vehicles.
â€œAlternative fuel solutions, such as autogas LPG, that will undoubtedly help improve air quality in the UK already exist. We simply need government and businesses, including vehicle manufacturers, to recognise this and start supporting and promoting greater use of them.â€
Dearman said that addressing the Supreme Court ruling â€œis clearly going to pose challengesâ€ for the government, but argued that it is also an opportunity to create â€œthousands of new jobsâ€ and â€œgenerate millions of pounds of exportsâ€ by encouraging the clean vehicle technology industry.
Responding to the judgement, senior group managing director at the London-based firm, Toby Peters, said: â€œAir pollution kills thousands of people each year and it’s vital that we collectively start to address the challenge. With the right technologies, it is possible to make a significant impact on air quality, without penalising businesses or individuals.
â€œIn particular, this ruling is positive for companies like ours that are developing economically viable zero-emission alternatives to unregulated, polluting auxiliary diesel engines.â€
Mr Peters suggested systems such as Dearmanâ€™s, which uses liquid nitrogen to deliver zero emission power and cooling as an alternative to â€œdisproportionately pollutingâ€ diesel-fuelled refrigeration, should be further encouraged by the government to combat air pollution.
According to Dearman, replacing 13,000 trailersâ€™ diesel refrigeration units with zero-emission systems would prevent 1,800 tonnes of nitrogen oxides from being emitted, which is the equivalent to taking 1.2 million modern diesel cars off the road.
Mr Peters added: â€œIf the government grasps this opportunity and puts the right regulations and incentives in place, then we could see a whole new clean technology industry flourish. In time, that industry could establish thousands of new jobs, generate millions of pounds of exports, as well as help clean up the air we breathe.â€