Retrofitting buses with emissions control technology, restricting emissions from construction site machinery and a scrappage scheme for owners of old diesel vehicles to replace them with new models are among the recommendations in a report on improving air quality in the UK.
A clear choice for the UK: technology options of tackling air pollution from trade body Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), which includes modelling by consultancy Temple Group, examined five scenarios for tackling the UK's poor air quality.
These were: widespread rollout of electric cars; replacing old diesel cars with models that meet Euro-6 standards or fuelled by liquid petroleum gas; retrofitting 10,000 old buses with emissions control exhaust systems; switching to renewable diesel for construction site generators; and applying photocatalytic treatments to polluted roads.
The modelling revealed that no single solution would cut air pollution enough, and that the scenarios had different strengths and weaknesses, such as whether they could be targeted on pollution hotspots and whether they reduced CO2 as well as NOx and particulate matter.
It also found that electric cars could cost five times as much per tonne of pollution reduction compared with the other technologies modelled. "Electric vehicles have the potential to transform air quality but they are only one part of the jigsaw and in the short term appear relatively expensive compared with the other technologies modelled," said EIC director Matthew Farrow.
Other proposals in the report to reduce pollution include the establishment of an Air Quality Committee. This would be similar to the Climate Change Committee created by the Climate Change Act and would report annually to parliament on progress in meeting legal air pollution limits.