European Court of Justice compels UK courts to ‘force’ government to meet pollution regulations
21 November 2014

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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Comments
7

22 November 2014
It would be interesting to know why Europe and India is so keen on diesels and the rest of the world isn't. I've always thought that the situation developed because the French nuclear power industry (and cheap electricity) created a surfeit of diesel oil, which lead to a healthy demand for diesel vehicles, but I'm probably wrong. And is it the vehicles or the fuel that is the problem? Presumably heavy oils used in central heating systems don't cause excessive NOx or particulate emissions.

22 November 2014
Diesel is used Europe-wide for fuelling cars. Why do these stories ever sound like UK is being picked on by the European authorities? Won't be long before somebody here suggests we walk out of Europe to avoid being pressed so! (lol)

LP in Brighton wrote:

It would be interesting to know why Europe and India is so keen on diesels and the rest of the world isn't.

In India diesel costs significantly less than petrol. That might be the answer to your query. I think the rest of the world sees diesel as a fuel for heavy vehicles and not fit for urban vehicles. Anyone with eyes and a nose doesn't need health authorities to tell them that.

22 November 2014
LP in Brighton wrote:

It would be interesting to know why Europe and India is so keen on diesels and the rest of the world isn't. I've always thought that the situation developed because the French nuclear power industry (and cheap electricity) created a surfeit of diesel oil, which lead to a healthy demand for diesel vehicles, but I'm probably wrong. And is it the vehicles or the fuel that is the problem? Presumably heavy oils used in central heating systems don't cause excessive NOx or particulate emissions.

No, Mr Conspiracy Theorist, you are wrong, Europe is keen on diesels because they emit much less C02 - the cause of the greenhouse effect and they use less fuel which means our fuel reserves go further. And of course diesel always used to be cheaper. The world could not function without diesel - can you imagine petrol ships, trians and trucks ? They would have to stop twice as much for fuel and their engines wouldnt have enough torque to carry the loads.
(Central heating oil is the same as diesel, by the way).
Diesel is not as evil a people are starting to make out. The problem is that petrols have had very strict emissions regulations for 40 years in the US and 20 years in Europe, requiring complex 3 way cats, whereas diesel has had comparitively slack emissions regs and its this that is the problem, not diesel engines per se - if diesels had been subject to the same level of emissions regs as petrol we would not have the problems we do now. And the answer to the problem is not to ban diesels, its to apply stricter emssions regs, ie NOx traps and DPFs to newer diesels and retro fit them to older ones, it certainly ISNT to scrap the older vehicles. The extra cost and complexity of 3 way cats was soon overcome with petrols and it would be with diesels. Incidently, in the US diesel vehicle sales are slowly and steadily increasing and they all meet California's strict emissions regs (the strictest in the world), no one is spouting anti diesel propoganda there, quite the opposite. In Europe we simply need to apply the same strict regs to diesels, problem solved . . . and CO2 levels reduced.

CWBROWN wrote:

I don't wish to breathe in other peoples cigarette smoke, because they wish to smoke indoors, and I don't want to breathe in diesel particulate because people wish to run a 1995 Taxi and pocket the savings vs buying a new taxi.

It is our right for both us and our children not to have to contract illness and cancer due to other people's cost based decisions.

And few people seem to realise a) that modern direct injection petrols produce more particlulates than indirect injection petrols (not as many as diesels, granted) and b) petrol contains benzine - one of the most carcinogenic substances there is - and this is released into the atmosphere from petrol, not only from the exhaust but also from evapouratation - childhood lukemia rates within a few miles of fuel stations are 4 times higher than elsewhere. Benzine and CO2 are odourless and invisible, so people dont complain. I dont wish to breath in other people's benzine and I dont wish to have the greenhouse effect worsened by other people's excess CO2.

22 November 2014
I don't wish to breathe in other peoples cigarette smoke, because they wish to smoke indoors, and I don't want to breathe in diesel particulate because people wish to run a 1995 Taxi and pocket the savings vs buying a new taxi.

It is our right for both us and our children not to have to contract illness and cancer due to other people's cost based decisions.

23 November 2014
Where did Client Earth spring from, call me old fashioned but I'm always suspicious of pressure groups appearing out of nowhere. While we're on this subject I presume the rest of Europe is doing everything right and we are the bad boys of course.

23 November 2014
"The European Court ruled that Britain’s Supreme Court should now take over enforcement of the EU’s clean air regulations".
This says it all: we're being forced to pay for an unco-ordinated policy on emissions from a dis-jointed dictatorship that uses a pseudo 'court' to create and illegitimately enforce de-facto legislation that wasn't debated properly in national or European parliaments.
It's time to rid Europe, (Germany and the U.K. etc) of these schackles and revive local democracy at a national level.

24 November 2014
Here in India, diesel fuel costs less than petrol despite diesel cars are more expensive to buy in the first place. Although this trend is changing slowly since diesel price is going upwards and the price between two fuels are narrower. Another reason for Indian preferring diesel is because diesel cars give more mileage than petrol in general.

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