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SMMT takes leading role in urging low-emission diesel CV uptake

11 February 2015 #Bus and Coach #CV Sector #News #Policy #Top Stories

The SMMT has held a special event in London urging policy makers to recognise the vital role modern diesel vehicles should play in reducing emissions across Britain – and to do more to support their adoption.

Improving Air Quality: The Commercial Vehicle Contribution event showcased the latest low-emission diesel technology and opened 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.

UK manufacturers have already invested billions of pounds in advanced diesel technology to meet the latest European emissions standard, Euro-6. These new diesel vehicles have filters that capture 99% of harmful soot particulates, while exhaust after-treatments drastically reduce emissions of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx).

However, despite these benefits, and the fact that Euro-6 technology has been an EU requirement for heavy duty vehicles since the beginning of 2014, less than three-quarters of commercial vehicles and just a fifth of buses registered in the UK last year were compliant, because of a loophole allowing bus operators in the UK to specify older vehicles for their fleets.

By closing this loophole and supporting the uptake of the latest Euro-6 buses, the SMMT says the government and local councils could reduce pollution dramatically, and avoid paying hundreds of millions of pounds in fines that will be levied by the EU if air quality obligations are not met.

Real world tests carried out by Transport for London along the cross-city 159 Bus Route show a 95% reduction in emissions of NOx from new Euro-6 diesel buses over their older counterparts. And according to the European Commission, fully adopting to the latest Euro-6 compliant vehicles will deliver on air quality targets by 2020.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Industry shares public concerns about air quality, and is responding by investing billions of pounds in advanced diesel commercial vehicles that are 95% cleaner than their predecessors. However, while modern diesel technology can make a vital contribution to cleaning up the air we all breathe, it cannot do the job on its own.

“The key now is uptake. It’s time to stop demonising diesel, and for all stakeholders to engage on this issue. Government and local councils must work together with industry and operators to encourage widespread adoption of the latest diesel technology that has the potential to make a dramatic improvement to air quality in the UK.

Speaking at the debate were John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Transport; Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive; Doug Parr, Chief Scientist, Greenpeace; and representatives from local transport authorities in London, Manchester and Scotland.

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