Road transport and air pollution – where are we now?22 Dec 2016

Two years ago we published a major report conducted for us by experts at Ricardo Energy & Environment exploring the issues of air quality and vehicle emissions.

It was a comprehensive analysis of the air quality challenge and its causes.

But much has happened in those two years.

Whilst work was being taken forward to tighten emissions standards and the vehicle testing regime, the VW scandal fuelled public concern both about the need for action and the pace of change. Government has continued to encourage the take-up of low and zero emission vehicles, just recently extending its suite of grant schemes to include motorcycles and scooters, and has brought forward plans to establish Clean Air Zones. And London’s new Mayor is exploring the options for accelerating and broadening the London Ultra-Low Emission Zone.

So it was timely for us to commission Ricardo Energy & Environment to revisit their earlier work; not to carry out a full reworking of the original report, but to look at what has been happening since 2014 and what that means for policy makers, manufacturers and motorists.

Three things stand out from the analysis:

• the medical evidence for the harmful health impacts of poor air quality has hardened still further;
• the case for swift implementation of a new, trusted, real-world vehicle testing regime is stronger than ever; and
• as motorists we need the automotive industry to redouble its efforts to develop and bring cleaner, greener, affordable models to market.