The UK motor industry has said that any blanket diesel taxes or measures that fail to differentiate between new and old technology â€œare not the answerâ€ to addressing air pollution in London.
The London Assemblyâ€™s environment committee today (July 14) published a report calling for more action to curb air pollution from diesel vehicles in the capital, making a number of recommendations on buses, taxis and the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) planned for central London from 2020 (see AirQualityNews.com story).
Although not fully endorsed by two Conservative Party members on the committee, the report called for, among other things, a diesel scrappage scheme, introducing the ULEZ before 2020 and an â€œurgentâ€ review of the recently announced changes to Vehicle Excise Duty so that it better reflects â€œlocal toxic pollutants such as NOx and PM as well as carbon dioxideâ€.
However, while the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said it was pleased the London Assembly report â€œrecognises the huge strides made by the automotive industry in reducing vehicle emissionsâ€, it argues against earlier implementation of the 2020 ULEZ.
It also claims that modern diesels â€œvirtually eliminate particulate matterâ€ and that the latest Euro-6 compliant vehicles also â€œdeliver significant NOx savingsâ€.
SMMT states: â€œIn fact, real world TfL tests using the London 159 Bus Route show a 95% reduction in NOx from Euro-6 vehicles over their older counterparts. Thatâ€™s an extraordinary achievement, and industry welcomes new testing for Euro-6 passenger cars in 2017 that better reflects the infinite variations of real world driving conditions.â€
It added: â€œThe London ULEZ will play a key role in driving the market for these advanced, low emission vehicles, and crucially the 2020 deadline gives consumers and businesses time to adapt. Industry is doing its job by developing the cleanest vehicles in history, and now policy makers must do their bit by encouraging their uptake, and by tackling congestion to keep them moving.â€œ
The organisation added that air pollution â€œis a local issueâ€ that needs â€œlocal solutions to encourage uptake and greater efficiencyâ€.
â€œBlanket taxes or measures that fail to differentiate between new and old technology are not the answer,â€ SMMT said.
Elsewhere, the London Assembly report was backed fully by Friends of the Earth campaigner Jenny Bates, who said: â€œThousands of Londoners die prematurely every year as a result of our illegal air pollution. Itâ€™s a disgrace that a first class city should have third rate air quality.
â€œThe London Mayor and government must take urgent steps to help end the scandal of Londonâ€™s filthy air by tackling traffic levels and ensuring that our vehicles are cleaner. More must be done to encourage people to leave their cars at home, and greater investment is needed in better public transport, cycling and walking facilities.â€