Improving Air Quality: Diesel v Petrol: A Van For London

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3 weeks ago (2:50 PM)
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Talk London

Hi John H,

Thanks for your post, and welcome to Talk London. The Mayor is taking a number of measures to improve air quality in London (more detail here) some of which are on vehicle emissions such as promoting electric vehicles and introducing an ultra-low emission zone. What we should also consider is that the Mayor cannot solve the problem by himself and there are measures that can be taken by the Government itself.

The Mayor is lobbying for more action to be taken to match his own programme. This includes getting the European Commission to ensure that Euro emission standards for vehicles are more effective (which may very well address the petrol versus diesel question in new vehicles in the future) and that any new standards work as planned. He is also proposing that the Government amends the current tax incentives for diesel vehicles, which emit 22 times as much particulate matter and four times as much NOx as petrol cars.

Wendy
Talk London Community Manager 

John H

Hi Wendy

Perhaps you can answer two questions for me. As an owner driver provider of transport to many customers in the proposed ULEZ I need to use a vehicle which I can AFFORD and which has the ability not only to function within Central London but also make trips as far afield as Edinborough. I can't afford anything less (or MORE, ie more than one vehicle).

What type of vehicles are you proposing to allow in the ULEZ?

Will Diesels compliant with Euro 6 emission regulations be allowed in the ULEZ?

livehere

It should not be petrol vs diesel, but how fast and by what means can we switch to means of powering vehicles that do not emit dangerous particles into the local air. Boris Johnson and the government, it should be pointed out, decided not to support a shift to LPG buses, even though it is buses and taxis that are major polluters in central London. Using hybrid or 'cleaner' diesel buses is not a solution - too little, too late. We need financial support for delivery companies and taxi companies to switch from diesel and petrol powered vehicles to LPG or electric ones, plus more infrastructure for charging etc.

livehere

Then why has the Mayor not done something about buses? It is nowhere near enough to have hybrid and cleaner diesel buses on the roads. We should have been using LPG or electric public road transport for years by now.

John H

I know this is forum for debate to glean the thoughts and ideas of Londoners, but when someone posts a question which can only be answered by City Hall, as I have here, it really would be nice to get an Answer!!!

Talk London

Hi John H,

Many apologies for such a delay in getting back to you.

The difficulty here is that the ULEZ plans are to be open to full consultation (this started today and runs til the 9 January: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/environment/ultra-low-emission-zone )

In the meantime however, the relevant team at City Hall has given me these pieces of information for you, if of any help:

• The Mayor's plans for the Ultra Low Emission Zone are still subject to full consultation, but it is expected that it will require diesel cars to be Euro 6 standard (i.e. no more than 5 years old) or at least Euro 4 petrol (i.e. no more than 14 years old) or they will be subject to an additional 'ULEZ' charge, likely to be a similar amount to the Congestion Charge.

• Euro VI/6 standard vehicles have been introduced from 2014 starting with heavy vehicles and deliver significant improvement for NOx emissions. For example, Euro 6 reduced NOx emissions by 70% compared to the current fleet average for diesel cars and vans. Euro 6 cars will be available from 2015.

I hope this is of some help,

Wendy
Talk London Community Manager

SW Londoner

NOx emissions are only a part of the air quality problem that needs to be addressed more urgently than relying upon motor manufacturers and EU Regulation. While NOx are irritants, evidence suggests that particulate matter is far more damaging to our lungs and long term health. Until anti-gravity machines become a viable reality, hydrogen fuel is the only sustainable solution to reducing pollution from road traffic.

Talk London

Hello again all,

We've summarised the current Ultra Low Emissions Zone proposals into an article.

Thought this might be of interest to you. Please feel free to give us any additional comments on the linked discussion thread.

Wendy
Talk London Community Manager 

livehere

I have looked at both the article and the consultation documents and I am not impressed.
(Consultation: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/environment/ultra-low-emission-zone ).

It is very disappointing indeed that the proposals would only reduce the percentage of residents exposed to the danger levels of pollutants by about half. This is just not acceptable, especially given that the toxic pollution damages children's lung development, with life-long health consequences. The idea is that vehicles such as buses, taxis, etc in the ultra low emissions zone will only have to be CAPABLE OF being pollutant-free at the point of exhaust emissison (end of exhaust pipe I assume). If they are hybrid vehicles, there is nothing to say they have to actually be running on batteries while in the zone. Also, And iwhile the hybrid buses could conceivably more or less plan to be using the cleaner fuel in the central areas, for cabbies this is much harder to organise. And black cabs are a major source of diesel pollution. The proposals are inadequate, achievment of the aims unlikely. The thread however is about petrol vs diesel. No, it is not a good idea to provide incentives or support to encourage people to use petrol engines - petrol also causes nasty pollutants. It should either be lpg or electric vehicles, or none, on the city roads.

Angus

Something needs to be done about diesel fuel before it kills off more people in London. Black particulates are poisoning the London air. Financial incentives are a way to address this problem.

Talk London

Hi all,

Many thanks for your thoughts here. I'm posting to let you know that the Mayor has now published his response to the London Health Commission's recommendations for London (for which we fed in thoughts and ideas posted here in the health section of on Talk London).

There's an air quality section within the Mayor's response - which we've summarised (along with the other parts) in an article: http://tinyurl.com/ljtd59m

Hope it's of interest.

Wendy
Talk London Community Manager

Tonnerre

Je ne crois pas que ni les véhicules pétroliers ni les véhicules en diesels fasse des différences. Le fait est que les chiffres donnés par des constructeurs automobiles sur les émissions de gaz nocif ne montrent pas la vérité. Selon un reportage dans le Sunday Times, le vrai taux d’émission pourrait être jusqu’à neuf fois plus que ceux-ci publiés par les entreprises.
La seule solution pour améliorer la qualité de l’air à Londres est baisser le nombre de véhicules qui roulent dans les routes. Pour le faire, on pourrait introduire des règles comme celles utilisées à Paris pendant les jours quand le taux de pollution a franchi un seuil crucial désigné par des experts. Alors à Paris, quand le seuil a été dépassé en 2 jours d’affilé, on alterne les véhicules qui peuvent faire entrer à Paris selon leurs immatriculations. Dans la premier jour, seule les véhicules qui portent une immatriculations terminant en un nombre impair peuvent gagner Paris, dans le jour suivant, ce sont les véhicules portant une immatriculation terminant en numéro pair peuvent y gagner. Cette règle se poursuit jusqu’à la pollution retourne à un niveau sous le seuil crucial.
En parallèle, le maire doit encourager l’utilisation des moyens alternatives pour se déplacer à Londres. Par exemple, on pourrait introduire une règle que pendant les week-ends, seuls les véhicules à bio-carburant pourraient gagner Londres. Les sites touristiques doivent être empêcher de tous véhicules.

Talk London

Hi all,

Just translating the comment above for you (using Google Translate so possibly not perfectly):

"I do not believe that neither oil nor cars vehicles
diesels make differences. The fact is that the figures given by
carmakers on emissions of harmful gases do not show
truth. According to a report in the Sunday Times, the real rate
transmission may be up to nine times more than these published
by enterprises.
The only solution to improve air quality in London is
reduce the number of vehicles driving on roads. To do it,
we could introduce rules like those used in Paris for
the days when the pollution level has crossed a crucial threshold designated by
experts. While in Paris, when the threshold was exceeded in two days
in a row, we alternate vehicles may enter Paris
according to their registrations. In the first day, only vehicles
carry a registration ending in an odd number can win
Paris in the next day, they are vehicles bearing
registration ending in even numbers may gain. This rule
continues until the pollution returns to a level below the critical threshold.
In parallel, the mayor should encourage the use of resources
alternatives to get around London. For example, one could
introduce a rule that during weekends, only vehicles
bio-fuel could win London. Tourist sites should
be prevent from all vehicles."

Wendy
Talk London Team

livehere

I absolutely agree that the rules used in Paris should be applied in London - this should have been done years ago. And to have access to London limited to electric and bio-fuel vehicles at weekends is another great idea. But Boris would never have the courage, and certainly not the conviction, to do anything like this.

livehere

new

That is national figures, is it not? 0.92 million tons of NOx in 2015. The point is where that is concentrated, as it is not generated equally across the UK. And where I live is one of the hotspots.

livehere

new

It is because they intend to have deliveries done during the night, when pollution levels are lower, regardless of the health impacts on the thousands of residents who will be kept awake all night every night by deliveries noise in central London. This is the result of successful lobbying of government at all levels by the Road Freight lobby (see TfL Out of Hours Commission). There is a 20-years-late Locity.org.uk website, wimpy and weak.

Looking at the TfL ULEZ consultation documents - "Freight emissions
We are dedicated to encouraging the uptake of low emission freight vehicles through
improving vehicle choice, availability and servicing by working with manufacturers
and operators, and through the LoCITY programme.
LoCITY is an initiative that aims to lower emissions caused by London’s commercial
vehicles. It is an industry-led, collaborative programme that encourages early
compliance with the ULEZ standards and encourages the uptake of alternatively
fuelled vans and HGVs. Further information can be found at locity.org.uk