Transport lobby group Greener Journeys has accused the government of ignoring the source of urban pollution and penalising the wrong vehicles. In its sternest criticism yet, which is to be a core message at the UK Bus Summit this week, the group will say the government is discriminating against the solution to city air quality while ignoring the cause: “Plans to tackle air pollution will have a minimal impact because councils have been directed to avoid tackling the biggest source of emissions,” says Greener Journeys.
“Official guidance on the implementation of Clean Air Zones directs local councils to target older, diesel buses as the top priority, followed by HGVs, then vans, with private cars only to be targeted as a last resort.
“But with 41% of emissions from road transport coming from diesel cars and 30% from diesel vans – compared with 6% for buses and coaches – these recommendations will only scrape the surface of Britain’s air quality crisis, which is causing 50,000 early deaths a year.”
In open letters to Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling, and to Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, the group strongly disagrees with the Clean Air Zone strategy: “Cars are…the principle cause of urban congestion, which in turn results in lower traffic speeds and higher emissions. In nose to tail traffic, NOx emissions are four times greater than they are in free flow traffic.
“Real-world testing of modern, diesel buses – and those retrofitted to this standard – demonstrates that they are 95% cleaner than previous models and emit fewer emissions overall than the average Euro 6 diesel car despite having 15 to 20 times the capacity.”
Greener Journeys accuses the government of passing the buck to local authorities, and offering a strategy which will fail completely to meet air quality targets.