This week, I attended a busy CENEX show at Millbrook, where a lot of new low emission technology was on display. Although much of the focus across the industry and among policy makers has recently been on decarbonisation, air quality is still of vital consideration.
This week the World Health Organisation (WHO) reduced its recommendations for the maximum safe levels of key pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, and halved the recommended maximum for exposure to PM2.5. These changes to the guidelines mean the UK’s legal limits for some pollutants are now four times higher than those recommended by the WHO.
Vehicle exhausts are often considered first when discussing air quality. The automotive sector is subject to very stringent targets compared to many other sectors, and invests heavily in delivering major improvements. For instance, particulate emissions from exhaust emissions from all road transport have decreased by -83% since 1996, and even with the transition away from fossil fuels, the new Euro VII standard will deliver even further improvement.
However, the impacts from diverse, widespread sources such as electricity generation, gas central heating, non-road transport, paints, cleaning fluids, solvents and much else are often either forgotten or left out of the discussion. All sectors must play their part in contributing to better air quality if we are to truly succeed.