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Ban cars near schools, says Public Health England

 

School sign

Public Health England is calling for a ban on cars near schools to fight air pollution and keep children safe.

Between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths a year can be attributed to long term emissions exposure, according to Public Health England (PHE), and during the school drop-off, our kids are on the front line.

“Now is our opportunity to create a clean air generation of children, by implementing interventions in a coordinated way,” said Professor Paul Cosford, director of health and protection and medical director at PHE.

“By making new developments clean by design we can create a better environment for everyone, especially our children.”

For a kick-off, the Professor is saying that “we should stop idling outside when children are walking to school.”

What can be done?

In an evidence review published on March 11, PHE suggested a number of interventions for local authorities to take. These include continued promotion of low-emission vehicle uptake, with an increase in targets for electric car charging points and boosting investment in clean public transport while encouraging cycling and walking to improve health.

Also suggested was something of an urban redesign for the UK’s cities, to get pedestrians away from the most polluting roads. A further advancement of low-emission zone implementation with an emphasis on highly populated areas was also a focus.

JATO CO2 emissions

Cosford continues: “We recommend that at a local level, any new policy or programme of work which affects air pollution should aim to deliver an overall benefit to the public’s health.

“So transport and urban planners will need to work together, with others involved in air pollution to ensure that new initiatives have a positive impact.

“Decision makers should carefully design policies, to make sure that the poorest in society are protected against the financial implications of new schemes.”

Dirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Dirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Dirty diesels: most polluting cars revealedDiesel emissions testing carried out by Which? has revealed the worst diesel cars for air pollution. The figures highlight a huge variation across the industry, with the worst offenders emitting up to nine times the level of dangerous pollutants permitted in official tests. Read on to discover more about the dirtiest diesels and how Which? conducted the tests.

There are emission laws in place to limit the amount of NOx produced by cars, but Which? has uncovered huge differences in the amount of NOx emissions produced by diesel cars from different brands. Crucially, Which? uses real-world tests, replicating the way drivers really drive their cars.

Which? has provided the averages for diesel cars tested between 2012 and 2016, with the results based on data for Euro 5 compliant cars, rather than the stricter Euro 6 emission limit. The results are presented in reverse order, with Euro 6 information included where applicable.

21. Mitsubishi: 0.31 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

The Euro 5 diesel limit is 0.18g/km of NOx, which means even the cleanest car on the list fails to meet the target. The Which? data is more accurate as the tests use more realistic cycles, including motorway testing, where the car is accelerated to and then sustains motorway speeds.

20. SEAT: 0.32 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Of the figures, Richard Headland, Which? magazine editor, said: “While our tests show that some car manufacturers are making progress on reducing the amount of toxic emissions from their models, many have a long way to go in cleaning up their act.”

SEAT, Euro 6: 0.11 NOx g/km.

19. Audi: 0.33 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Headland continued: “We hope that the improved official tests brought in later this year will more clearly name and shame those manufacturers that are failing to meet their obligation to lower emissions.”

Audi, Euro 6: 0.15 NOx g/km.

18. Skoda: 0.33 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

The improvements mentioned by Richard Headland refer to the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which replaces the much-criticised New European Drive Cycle (NEDC). In a nutshell, WLTP will introduce stricter controls and cycles to reflect normal driving behaviour.

Skoda, Euro 6: 0.14 NOx g/km.

17. Volkswagen: 0.34 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the NOx figures for SEAT, Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen are within 0.2g/km of each other. As Which? points out, the Euro 5 diesel cars tested are part of the ongoing VW emissions investigation, so a question mark remains over the results.

Volkswagen, Euro 6: 0.11 NOx g/km.

16. Volvo: 0.40 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Which? says it recorded a (comparatively) low NOx average across the seven Euro 5 Volvos it tested, but the four Euro 6 Volvo cars actually emit more NOx than the Euro 5 vehicles.

Volvo, Euro 6: 0.43 NOx g/km.

15. Toyota 0.40 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Toyota performed well, with the Euro 6 figure even lower at 0.13g/km. However, this is still higher than the 0.08g/km European limit for Euro 6 vehicles.

Toyota, Euro 6: 0.13 NOx g/km.

14. BMW: 0.41 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Which? is quick to praise BMW and MINI, saying that the 33 cars tested produced some of the lowest NOx averages for diesel cars. While MINI doesn’t feature in the Euro 5 results, it did produce the best result for Euro 6 compliant cars. A figure of 0.08g/km means it just meets the European target.

BMW, Euro 6: 0.14 NOx g/km.

13. Honda: 0.45 NOx g/mDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

To produce the figures, Which? analysed 278 diesel cars from leading manufacturers between 2012 and 2016. Five Honda vehicles were tested, producing a result of 0.45 NOx g/km.

12. Vauxhall: 0.46 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Other brands for which only Euro 6 compliant cars are tested include Dacia (0.59g/km), DS Automobiles (0.26g/km), Mazda (0.21g/km) and Jaguar (0.18g/km). Meanwhile, in the Euro 5 table, Vauxhall achieves a figure of 0.46g/km.

Vauxhall, Euro 6: 0.25 NOx g/km.

 

11. Fiat 0.48 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Meanwhile, four Fiats were tested, with a result of 0.48 NOx g/km.

10. Mercedes-Benz: 0.48 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

A total of 17 Mercedes-Benz cars were tested (7 Euro 5 and 17 Euro 6), with a Euro 5 result of 0.48g/km.

Mercedes-Benz, Euro 6: 0.15 NOx g/km.

9. Peugeot: 0.52 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Peugeot finishes 9th in the Euro 5 table, making it the best performing French brand on the list. Its Euro 6 performance is one of the best recorded by Which?.

Peugeot, Euro 6: 0.11 NOx g/km.

8. Kia: 0.53 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Kia finishes eighth, with a NOx figure of 0.53g/km.

Kia, Euro 6: 0.29 NOx g/km.

7. Citroen: 0.56 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Slightly behind Kia we find Citroen, with a NOx figure of 0.56g/km.

Citroen, Euro 6: NOx 0.16g/km.

6. Ford: 0.58 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

There’s not a huge amount of difference between Ford’s Euro 5 and Euro 6 figure, with the more lax Euro 5 test revealing an output of 0.58g/km.

Ford, Euro 6: 0.49 NOx g/km.

5. Hyundai: 0.60 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

Hyundai is committed to delivering 14 or more new environmentally-focused models by 2020, which should go some way to improving this top five finish.

Hyundai, Euro 6: 0.40 NOx g/km.

4. Renault: 0.73 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

NOx emissions from the 16 Renault diesel cars tested are seven times higher than the Euro 6 MINIs tested. In response, Renault said: “Since mid-2015, Groupe Renault has committed to improve the performance of its anti-pollution systems. The vehicles tested by Which? would not have benefitted from this improvement plan”.

Renault, Euro 6: 0.72 NOx g/km.

3. Land Rover: 0.78 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

In third place is Land Rover, which was one of six manufacturers for which the consumer group only has average figures for Euro 5 compliant cars.

2. Nissan: 0.81 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

In response to the results, Nissan said: “We are committed to upholding the law and meeting regulations in every market where we operate. Specifically in Europe, all our vehicles sold in Europe meet the Euro 5/6 emission standards. This report, which looks at the variation between lab and ‘real world’ conditions, shows significant variances for most brands tested”.

1. Jeep: 1.74 NOx g/kmDirty diesels: most polluting cars revealed

That leaves Jeep to secure the unwanted position at the top of the dirty diesels tree. Jeep failed to provide a response to the research.

Tesla biohazard bubble

Tesla’s bioweapon promises to heal the world

Tesla biohazard bubble

“We then closed the falcon doors and activated Bioweapon Defence Mode.” No, not an extract from a new Star Wars movie, but a statement from a press release focused on air pollution. OK, Tesla, you’ve got our attention. What’s the big deal?

The American electric car giant dreams of a cleaner future, which is why it has developed a new High-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtration system, inspired by the air filtration systems you’ll find in hospitals, clean rooms and the space industry.

In short: Tesla’s HEPA is capable of stripping the outside air of pollen, bacteria and pollution before they enter the cabin, then scrubbing the air inside to eliminate any trace of these particles. Tesla claims the system is “hundreds of times” more efficient than the filters you’ll find in more everyday vehicles.

Wannabe superheroes: your new wheels are ready

In Tesla’s mind, the cabin of a Model S or Model X will be amongst the cleanest places on Earth, maintaining the best possible cabin air quality “no matter what is happening in the environment around them.” Wannabe superheroes engaged in a fight against biohazard threats – your new wheels are ready.

To test the system, Tesla put its cars through a number of real-world trials, including California freeways, smelly marshes, landfills, cow pastures and major Chinese cities. The aim was to ensure the system captured particulate matter, gaseous pollutants, bacteria, viruses, pollen and mould spores.

We’re not sure if Tesla has parked a Model X inside a teenager’s bedroom, but until it has, the system has not been subjected to the most toxic environment on planet Earth.

That said, Tesla did park a Model X inside a large bubble (which sounds like a teenager’s mind), at which point it closed the falcon doors and activated the Bioweapon Defence Mode. Cutting to the chase, in less than two minutes, Tesla claims the HEPA filtration system had scrubbed the air inside the car, bringing pollution levels from extremely dangerous to undetectable levels.

The people involved in the test were even able to remove their gas masks and breathe in the previously heavily-polluted air.

Heal the world… make it a better place

To quote Tesla: “You can literally survive a military-grade bio attack by sitting in your car.”

Literally. Try doing that in a Toyota Avensis.

But far from being selfish, Tesla goes on to claim that Model X and Model S drivers will be able to vacuum clean the air outside the vehicle, improving the environment for all.

To quote Michael Jackson: “Heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for me, and the entire human race.”

Altogether now…

Tesla biohazard bubble

Tesla's bioweapon promises to heal the world

Tesla biohazard bubble

“We then closed the falcon doors and activated Bioweapon Defence Mode.” No, not an extract from a new Star Wars movie, but a statement from a press release focused on air pollution. OK, Tesla, you’ve got our attention. What’s the big deal?

The American electric car giant dreams of a cleaner future, which is why it has developed a new High-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtration system, inspired by the air filtration systems you’ll find in hospitals, clean rooms and the space industry.

In short: Tesla’s HEPA is capable of stripping the outside air of pollen, bacteria and pollution before they enter the cabin, then scrubbing the air inside to eliminate any trace of these particles. Tesla claims the system is “hundreds of times” more efficient than the filters you’ll find in more everyday vehicles.

Wannabe superheroes: your new wheels are ready

In Tesla’s mind, the cabin of a Model S or Model X will be amongst the cleanest places on Earth, maintaining the best possible cabin air quality “no matter what is happening in the environment around them.” Wannabe superheroes engaged in a fight against biohazard threats – your new wheels are ready.

To test the system, Tesla put its cars through a number of real-world trials, including California freeways, smelly marshes, landfills, cow pastures and major Chinese cities. The aim was to ensure the system captured particulate matter, gaseous pollutants, bacteria, viruses, pollen and mould spores.

We’re not sure if Tesla has parked a Model X inside a teenager’s bedroom, but until it has, the system has not been subjected to the most toxic environment on planet Earth.

That said, Tesla did park a Model X inside a large bubble (which sounds like a teenager’s mind), at which point it closed the falcon doors and activated the Bioweapon Defence Mode. Cutting to the chase, in less than two minutes, Tesla claims the HEPA filtration system had scrubbed the air inside the car, bringing pollution levels from extremely dangerous to undetectable levels.

The people involved in the test were even able to remove their gas masks and breathe in the previously heavily-polluted air.

Heal the world… make it a better place

To quote Tesla: “You can literally survive a military-grade bio attack by sitting in your car.”

Literally. Try doing that in a Toyota Avensis.

But far from being selfish, Tesla goes on to claim that Model X and Model S drivers will be able to vacuum clean the air outside the vehicle, improving the environment for all.

To quote Michael Jackson: “Heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for me, and the entire human race.”

Altogether now…

Exhaust-pipe

London 2016 air pollution limit exceeded in just 8 days

Exhaust-pipe

London has breached its air pollution limits for the entire year in just eight days, that’s according to figures released by the London Air Quality Network.

European Union air-quality rules stipulate that levels of hourly nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are not to exceed the maximum limit for more than 18 hours per year, with World Health Organisation guidelines saying that no humans should be exposed to NO2 over 200 micrograms per cubic metre, measured over one hour.

All of which means Putney High Street was the first monitor in London to report a beach, recording its 19th hour of exceeding the limit during last Friday’s morning rush hour. Meanwhile, the Knightsbridge monitor had reported 17.

Simon Birkett, founder and director of campaign group Clean Air in London, said: “It is breathtaking that toxic air pollution has breached the legal limit for a whole calendar year within a few days.

“Worse, several air pollution monitors have been vying for the dubious honour of recording the first officially monitored breach of the nitrogen dioxide legal limit in the world in 2016. Oxford Street would have been first again if it hadn’t been ‘offline’ since last Sunday afternoon – possibly due to vandalism of the scientific equipment.”

In 2015, Oxford Street was the first street to report a breach of the objectives for levels of nitrogen oxide – in just two days.

[bctt tweet=”Put simply, diesel exhaust is the biggest public health catastrophe since the Black Death.”]

Simon Birkett went on to say: “This shocking start to the 60th anniversary year of the world’s first Clean Air Act in 1956 illustrates the scale of Boris Johnson’s failure to reduce diesel fumes.

“Put simply, diesel exhaust is the biggest public health catastrophe since the Black Death.”

Putney resident, Judith Howell, told PutneySW15: “I’m mildly asthmatic and at present the combination of cold, little air movement and pollution is awful.”

Sarah Williams, Living Streets London campaigns manager, said: “Our air pollution levels are dangerous and cannot be allowed to continue like this. The majority of main roads in the city regularly breach the values for nitrogen dioxide.

“By 2031 it’s estimated that an extra 1.5 million people will be living in the capital and if we don’t make changes, the situation will only get worse.”

Delhi to launch odd-even scheme to cut polution

 

Exhaust

Residents of Delhi are gearing up for drastic measures aimed at cleaning up the world’s most polluted city. For a two-week period starting January 1, those driving cars with license plates ending with an even number will only be allowed to drive on even-numbered dates.

Similarly, those who own cars with license plates ending with an odd number will only be allowed on the roads on odd-numbered dates. It’s one part of a series of initiatives which the state government hopes will clean up its act. It follows a court order focused on tackling pollution levels which are 10 times the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) safe limits.

The restrictions will be in place from 8am to 8pm everyday except Sunday, which should see a dramatic fall in the 8.5 million vehicles that use Delhi’s congested and smog-filled roads. According to a survey conducted by WHO, Delhi is the most polluted of 1,600 cities around the world, ‘beating’ the likes of Beijing and Shanghai.

[bctt tweet=”Delhi is the most polluted of 1,600 cities around the world, ‘beating’ the likes of Beijing and Shanghai.”]

It’s a growing problem across India, with research carried out by the Central Pollution Control Board revealing that 15 out of 17 cities monitored failed to meet the ambient air quality standard.

Speaking about the survey, Greenpeace India campaigner, Sunil Dahiya, told The Times of India: “As the political capital – and indeed, the most polluted of all cities – the bad air in Delhi gets the most attention. But, scratch below the murky surface, and you will find concentrations of PM2.5 (particulate matter) in several other cities that would justify the triggering of a ‘red alert’ like Beijing does.”

Beijing uses a four-level alarm system that imposes restrictions depending on how poor the air quality is. These can range from restricting the use of vehicles to reducing the emissions from factories and power stations.

For its part, Delhi is rolling out a series of similar initiatives, in addition to the odd-even driving scheme. These include forcing all taxi operators to convert to natural gas by March 31, a temporary ban on the registration of SUVs, minivans and large diesel-powered cars, the closure of some coal-fired power stations and even the vacuuming of roads.

Delhi pollution

Anyone caught disobeying the odd-even rules face a fine of 2,000 rupee – approximately £20 – leading opponents of the scheme to claim Delhi will see a rise in the number of fake license plates, as drivers attempt to flout the law. In India it is called ‘jugaad’, a word that is used to describe an innovative fix or bending of the rules.

Delhi’s transport minister, Gopal Rai, said: “The biggest challenge is to make people realise that this fight against pollution is for them, for their health, for their own good.

“They will only be cheating themselves with jugaad. There is no magic button that will make the pollution disappear. We must act now.”

[bctt tweet=”There is no magic button that will make the pollution disappear. We must act now.”]

But some residents will not have to worry about the restrictions, with the state government outlining a number of exemptions. These include women travelling alone or with a child under the age of 12. Drivers with disabilities are also exempt, as are riders of two-wheeled vehicles. Drivers who own electric vehicles, hybrids or cars and vans converted to run on natural gas are also free to continue driving as normal.

School classes have been cancelled for the two-week trial period, with the government commandeering the school buses for use as commuter transport. Once the trial period is over, the Delhi government will evaluate the findings and decide whether or not to continue with the odd-even scheme.

Image © Onewhohelps at English Wikinews

Diesel pollution levels

Just 10% of diesel cars meet legal air pollution limit

Diesel pollution levels

Just one in 10 diesel-engined cars on the road meets EU air pollution limits, according to environmental lobbying   group Transport and Environment (T&E).

The new Euro 6 emissions standard was introduced on 1 September, but only 10% of cars tested complied with it. Audi and Opel (Vauxhall in the UK) were among the worst offenders.

T&E discovered that, on average, diesel cars pump out emissions five times greater than the allowed limit. The worst new car, an Audi, emitted 22 times as much. Only three out of the 23 tested cars met the new standard.

The problem, says T&E, is Europe’s outdated emissions testing system, which allows carmakers to use cheaper and less effective exhaust treatment systems for diesels sold here. As the infographic below shows, diesel cars sold by the same manufacturers in the US have better exhaust treatment systems and emit less.

Exhaust treatment systemsA new on-road test is due that will measure ‘real-world’ emissions from diesels. However, it won’t arrive until 2018 at the earliest. And, with diesel after-treatment systems costing around £220 per car, manufacturers aren’t in a rush to introduce them.

Greg Archer, T&E’s clean vehicles manager, said: “Every new diesel car should now be clean but just one in 10 actually is. This is the main cause of the air pollution crisis affecting cities. Carmakers sell clean diesels in the US, and testing should require manufacturers to sell them in Europe too.”

In the UK, the number of diesel cars on the road has risen from 1.6 million to 12 million since 1994.