23 Aug Barriers to lower air pollution falling like dominoes
It’s been a huge few weeks for the automotive industry. First came the news in early July that France would be banning sales of petrol and diesel vehicles. Then, less than three weeks later, Britain pledged to do the same. Now, Ford has announced a scrappage scheme for pre-2010 cars.
Many people have seen these headlines, but don’t understand the driving force behind the changes. Sound familiar? Well, it all comes down to air pollution. Here are the key points you need to know.
- A report has revealed that air pollution is killing 40,000 people per year in the UK. The report found that the nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel cars are contributing to poor health, with 25 cities in the UK above legal air pollution levels.
- The same report exposed how diesel vehicles emit dangerously high levels of particulates — tiny soot particles — and nitrogen oxides (NOx). These particulates are linked to asthma, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia.
- Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London, estimated that diesel engines could be responsible for a quarter of the 29,000 premature deaths in Britain that are attributed to air pollution.
- The true cost of air pollution to the NHS each year is estimated to be £54 billion.
As the figures show, the burden on public health and the NHS is beyond breaking point. Finally, there has been a reaction, with car manufacturers and governments introducing new strategies and policy to tackle pollution. This is important news for us all.
We now have just under 23 years to prepare for the ban. This gives automotive manufacturers plenty of time to develop fully electric ranges of vehicles. By the time the ban is in effect, technology would’ve moved on to such as extent that we hope the prejudice holding today’s drivers back from going electric will have become irrelevant. Fingers crossed, anyway!