Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) is reiterating calls for the mayor of London Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TfL) to recognise the role of modern diesel vehicles in reducing emissions across London – and to invest in them now.
Today SMMT will bring together commercial vehicle and bus manufacturers with London’s transport policy makers and others around the country at a special event in the capital to discuss the future contribution of commercial vehicles to improving air quality.
Diesel is not a dirty word, SMMT will say, pointing out that the latest technology vehicles are fitted with filters that capture 99% of harmful soot particulates, while exhaust after-treatments dramatically reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx).
Real world tests conducted by TfL on the cross-city London 159 Bus Route show a 95% reduction in emissions of NOx over older technology vehicles.
TfL has pledged that the majority of buses operating in the proposed ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in the capital will meet the latest EU emissions standard, Euro6, by 2020 - the expected date, that ULEZ will be introduced. However, with buses expected to contribute 50% of road transport NOx emissions across central London in 2015, SMMT is calling for this investment to be brought forward.
By supporting the uptake of the latest Euro6 buses and commercial vehicles, Transport for London has the opportunity to reduce pollution across the capital – removing 30% of NOx from the air – and avoid hundreds of millions of pounds in fines that will be levied by the EU if air quality obligations are not met, SMMT believes.
Mike Hawes (pictured), SMMT chief executive, said: “Industry shares public concerns about air quality, and has responded by investing billions of pounds in advanced diesel commercial vehicles that are 95% cleaner than their predecessors. Accelerating the renewal of the TfL bus fleet, will allow Londoners to enjoy this benefit now.
“SMMT wrote to mayor Johnson in December 2014 calling for a more ambitious approach to his proposals for the ultra-low emission zone. Industry is keen to engage on this issue, and work collaboratively in the best interests of London.
“Modern diesel technology can make a vital contribution to cleaning up the air we all breathe, but it cannot do the job on its own. The key now is uptake. It’s time to stop demonising diesel. Transport for London must work together with industry and operators to adopt the latest diesel technology. We hope today’s debate will mark the start of that dialogue.”
Almost 780,000 commercial vehicles and buses enter the London congestion charge zone every year – and they are fundamental to the economy, transporting people and essential goods, and delivering emergency services. In 2014, buses carried commuters on more than 2.4 billion journeys across the capital.
Today’s event 'Improving Air Quality: The Commercial Vehicle Contribution', hosted by SMMT in London, will showcase the latest low emission diesel technology and open the debate on how transport officials, industry, business and passenger groups can work together to encourage new diesel uptake and develop integrated and sustainable policies that will ensure the UK delivers on its emissions targets at national and local levels.
Speaking at the debate will be John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Transport; Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive; Doug Parr, chief scientist, Greenpeace; and representatives from local authorities in London, Manchester and Scotland.