Alternative fuels could save over 1,250 lives a year

2nd November 2020


Web p5 electric car istock 1085551672

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Renewable ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management

Author

Joanne Sharman

Adopting low-emission fuels for vehicles and machinery now could save more than 1,250 lives in the UK every year, analysis by Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) suggests.

In a report, the EIC explains that alternative fuels such as liquid petroleum gas and hydrotreated vegetable oil could have a large and immediate impact on air pollution levels.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that as many as 64,000 people die prematurely in the UK every year due to poor air quality, which can cause coronary heart disease, strokes, lung cancer and severe asthma. The EIC said that around 10% of all air pollution comes from sectors where alternative fuels can be readily deployed, and with evidence suggesting that they can cut pollution by up to 30%, this could mean more than 1,250 lives saved a year.

“While the government rightly looks to electric vehicles and construction plant as the long-term solution, we should also recognise that alternative fuels could have an immediate impact on air pollution, especially in built-up urban areas,“ said EIC policy director Matthew Farrow. “As we slowly emerge from lockdown, economic recovery gathers pace and traffic and air pollution levels subsequently return to pre-COVID levels, we should remember that we have the solutions to improve air quality now, not just in a decade's time. This move would save lives.“

The report stresses that alternative fuels should be used as an interim measure on the road to full electrification, and would be particularly useful for construction equipment, back-up generators and specialist vehicles such as those used in refuse collection. It also points to a series of successful initiatives, such as grants for retrofitting vehicles and low-emission zones, as examples of measures that could be adopted across other high-polluting sectors.

This comes after separate research by Venson Automotive Solutions found that 38% of UK adults believe the government should introduce more clean-air zones and encourage the take-up of electric vehicles; this figure rises to 55% among 18 to 24-year-olds.

Jim Mills, chair of the EIC's air quality working group, said that the report's recommendations would reduce CO2 emissions by 90% with no capital expenditure on new equipment or refuelling infrastructure. “It's the common sense solution with an immediate impact,“ he added.

Read the full report at bit.ly/375xJ5e

Picture credit: iStock


Transform articles

Water companies fail to hit environmental targets

None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.

30th July 2021

Read more

The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.

30th July 2021

Read more

Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

30th July 2021

Read more

The oil and gas industry is set to burn through its allocated carbon budget 13 years early unless decisive action is taken immediately, new analysis has found.

22nd July 2021

Read more

The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.

2nd July 2021

Read more

The UK government is not on track to deliver on its promise to improve the environment within a generation and is failing to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, a damning new report from MPs has revealed.

1st July 2021

Read more

Renewable energy will account for nearly 40% of the world's power mix by the end of this decade, overtaking coal within the next few years, according to research by GlobalData.

24th June 2021

Read more

The UK's solar energy capacity must treble over the next decade for the country to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, but is only set to double under a business-as-usual scenario.

18th June 2021

Read more

The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) has today been launched to support financial institutions and corporates in assessing and managing emerging risks and opportunities as the world looks to reverse biodiversity loss.

4th June 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert