There are a number of questions relating to this topic. Here, we try and address a number of those we are often asked. If you have anything else you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to get in contact with one of the team.
By reducing the amount of fuel used we reduce the amount of emissions emitted.
Most of our transportation system is powered by fossil fuels. The result is that transportation is one of the largest sources of air pollutants and greenhouse gases around the world. As most of these emissions happen close to where we live and work, they can have a significant impact on our health and let’s not forget about the environmental damage caused by these emissions.
Transport is responsible for approximately a quarter of the UK’s domestic CO2 emissions. Road transport makes up just over 90% of all domestic transport emissions with car travel accounting for over a half (58%) and heavy goods vehicles and light van traffic accounting for just under a third (30%) in 2009. Source: Transport Energy and Environment Statistics 2011
There are over 34 million vehicles on our roads, 28 million are cars. Source: Environmental protection UK
Petrol vehicles emit nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and smaller amounts of other pollutants such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and ammonia (NH3).
Diesel engines emit the same pollutants as petrol engines except that they produce much higher amounts of NOx and PM2.5 and lower amounts of VOCs and CO. Diesel PM is considered particularly harmful because the particles are extremely small and can be inhaled easily.
Vehicle emissions lead to the formation of smog which has been shown to lead to increases in respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms. A number of studies have shown that pollutant exposures near major roadways are greater than for other areas in cities. Other studies have linked this exposure to an increased prevalence of a wide variety of illnesses including asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia and heart disease.
Local air pollutants also need to be controlled to reduce risks to health, the environment and quality of life. The main source of air pollution is transport – emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles accounting for up to 70 per cent of the total in urban areas. London has been and still is in breach of EU standards on local air quality and potentially faces large fines.
Air pollutant emissions from transport have fallen considerably since 1990, mainly as result of cleaner road vehicles and road fuels. However, local air pollution is still said to cost the economy £20 billion per year and decrease life expectancy of people in the UK by an average of 7 to 8 months.
Source: Environmental Audit Committee Report on Air Quality
Emissions per vehicle have fallen dramatically over the last 20 years. Some of this decrease has been counteracted by an increase in the number of vehicles and an increase in the miles travelled per vehicle.
Despite total traffic in England forecast to rise by around 43 per cent between 2010 and 2040, road traffic emissions are forecast to fall. Up to 2030, CO2 emissions are forecast to fall by 20 per cent before starting to slowly rise again due to increasing travel demand. Without further policy intervention and improvements in fuel efficiency, this would imply a 15 per cent reduction on 2010 levels by 2040.
Road transport NoX and PM10 emissions from 2010 – 2040 are forecast to fall substantially by 62 per cent and 93 per cent respectively. The National Travel Model forecasts a continuing downward trend until 2025, in line with historical precedent and deployment of new vehicle EURO standards. After 2025, NoX and PM10 emissions are projected to plateau, at significantly lower levels than those observed in 2010.
Source: Road Transport Forecasts 2013
There are a number of ways each road user can do to help reduce emissions from our vehicles. But key areas especially in the long term are;
- Increased awareness
- By implementing available technology
- By rapidly reducing emissions from vehicles with conventional Powertrains
- Dramatically reducing the greenhouse gas intensity of fuels and accelerating the transition to low carbon vehicles
- Developing smart infrastructure to support zero-carbon mobility
- Purposefully engineering cities and other spaces to support a near zero-carbon transport future