The British Government is under renewed pressure to meet European air quality regulations – particularly those covering nitrogen oxides (NoX) – after a ruling earlier this week by the European Court of Justice.
The judgment could lead to Britain’s biggest conurbations having to introduce super-stringent low emissions zones, which could result in older diesel vehicles banned from city and town centres across the UK.
Pressure group ClientEarth brought the case against the Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs. The European Court ruled that Britain’s Supreme Court should now take over enforcement of the EU’s clean air regulations and force the UK government to rapidly accelerate the speed of its compliance.
ClientEarth said that that the ruling meant UK courts “must order the government to produce a plan which achieves nitrogen dioxide limits as soon as possible. Under current plans the [wider] UK will not meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide until after 2030.”
On the same day as the ruling, Bosch released an infographic showing just how difficult it will be for the UK and the rest of Europe to reduce particulate and NoX emissions. They come almost entirely from diesel engines, which dominate European roads.
Although research on the subject is seriously lacking, it does appear that diesel engines become significantly more polluting as they age. Ironically, some engineers think that the extremely high levels of nitrogen dioxide levels on London’s Oxford Street could be caused by the anti-particulate treatment systems fitted to the bus engines.
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