Thursday, 27 July 2017

How to deal with air pollution: ban all diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040 >>> but will it work?

Should it be central or local government which deals with air pollution?
Futures Forum: "Unfairly shifting the burden" of dealing with air pollution on to local authorities

And how in particular should we deal with diesel?
Futures Forum: How to deal with diesel: scrappage
Futures Forum: How to deal with diesel: increase fuel duty

The Environment Secretary has announced new measures:
Petrol and diesel ban: How will it work? - BBC News

The car industry is not impressed:
Clean air surprise fuels growing row between car industry and government - Telegraph
Clean Air Act industry reaction: tone of anxiety - Transport Engineer

Others say it is too little too late:
Diesel and petrol car ban: Clean air strategy 'not enough' - BBC News

Including David Powel from the New Economics Foundation:



Action on air pollution should come today, not tomorrow | New Economics Foundation

Today's letters pages in the Guardian ask how it will all work:

Switching to electric vehicles may not be so simple

Readers respond to Britain’s latest clean air plan and the ban on all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040
Business secretary Greg Clark in a self-driving pod
 Business secretary Greg Clark in a self-driving pod. But Rod Logan isn’t as optimistic as Clark about BMW’s decision to assemble an electric version of the Mini at Cowley: ‘The only “go to” aspect of the arrangement seems to be that the key element will be made in Germany and “go to” Cowley.’ he says. Photograph: Anthony Upton/PA
So, the government is committed to banning all diesel and petrol cars by 2040 (Report, 26 July). Has it considered the wider impacts?
Power stations will face huge peak-time demand when drivers charge vehicles overnight. Can they cope? Will we face increased electricity charges?
The rare metals in lithium batteries are produced only in inconvenient places. More than 85% of the world’s supply comes from China. How dependent will that make us upon them?
Mining these materials is far from environmentally friendly. Each tonne processed produces 2,000 tonnes of toxic waste, laced with ammonia and hydrochloric acid. Much is dumped into landfill, decimating agriculture and poisoning drinking water. The very manufacture of an electric vehicle can create a large carbon footprint, offsetting global warming benefits. Then there is the issue of safe disposal of obsolete batteries.
We could create more problems than we solve.
William Harry Plant
Crook, County Durham
 The ban on petrol and diesel vehicles will have no immediate impact. The reality is that the decarbonisation of transport will require a combination of solutions. The government should start with the roll-out of E10, a readily available greener fuel containing 10% bioethanol. This would offer an immediate solution to improving air quality, equivalent to taking 700,000 cars off the road. It requires no new infrastructure, is compatible with almost all petrol cars today and provides a practical, simple, low-cost solution to addressing worsening air quality. E10 also provides a greener option for the petrol needed for hybrid vehicles that a growing number of consumers are opting for today, as consumer confidence in pure electric vehicles remains low.
Bioethanol is a non-fossil renewable fuel which, when blended with petrol, has lower NOx and particulates than diesel, and is non-carcinogenic. Our industry has already invested over £1bn in the UK to produce it.
Yet again, we are missing a golden opportunity to take action today to deliver on our climate and air quality goals, and of course to support farming and those jobs in the UK already employed in this industry.
Mark Chesworth
Managing director, Vivergo Fuels
 If petrol and diesel cars are replaced by electric cars then this will reduce tailpipe emissions, but not non-tailpipe emissions, which can still contribute significantly to air pollution, particularly for particulate matter. It will also reduce noise from engines, but not from tyres. Car infrastructure (roads and parking) takes up space that can be used in much better ways that are healthier for the population, for example by making it car-free public space or green space. This will also reduce heat-island effects.
Finally, many people do not get enough physical activity, partly due to the use of cars, which cause disease and premature mortality. A shift away from the car to public and active transport (walking and cycling) can facilitate an increase in physical activity and save thousands of lives. We urgently need a rethink of what we want our cities to be: detrimental to health or promoting health. A shift away from car-centric cities to more active and green cities is urgently needed to achieve the latter, and a ban on diesel and patrol cars is only a small step.
Mark J Nieuwenhuijsen
Research professor in environmental epidemiology, Barcelona Institute for Global Health
 The traffic jam on the M25 shown in your picture (Carmakers fear ban on petrol and diesel cars may lead to bumpy road, 27 July) would still be undesirable even if they were all non-polluting vehicles. Commuting on today’s scale is largely unproductive, whatever the transport mode, in both economic and personal terms. The first postwar new towns, such as Harlow, were designed to be “self-contained and balanced communities for living and working”. For the first few years that was largely achieved, until it was destroyed by globalisation. Today thousands commute out and a similar number commute in. In planning the new developments needed to solve the housing crisis, a return to that principle as far as possible would be highly desirable.
Frank Jackson
Harlow, Essex
 City councils are rightly concerned that ministers’ pollution plans don’t stack up (Clean air plan condemned as weak and inadequate, 27 July). The government’s own evidence shows that charging for urban driving is the quickest way to meet legally binding pollution thresholds. Yet ministers would rather councils removed speed humps instead. Far from cutting the 40,000 deaths annually due to pollution, this would merely increase the numbers killed by speeding.
Meanwhile the vast sums being spent on England’s motorways and trunk roads mean yet more traffic on our city streets. And now councils are being deprived of the means either to restrain urban traffic or to invest in healthy alternatives such as cycling and walking.
If funded adequately, the government’s cycling and walking investment strategy could be a fantastic way to reduce not only pollution but also congestion, road danger and ill-health due to physical inactivity. These four urban transport problems impose similar annual costs on society: about £10bn each, according to government estimates. Electric cars can address only the first of them, whereas cycling and walking could tackle all four.
Will it take another court case before Mr Gove heeds the evidence?
Roger Geffen 
Policy director, Cycling UK
 The latest clean air plan looks likely to put Sheffield back in the fog again. Not only are we choked by “Chelsea tractors” doing the school run and idling queues of traffic, but the decision not to electrify our main railway line to London means that diesel locomotives will continue to add to our respiratory misery.
Mike Peart
 The business secretary, Greg Clark, says that the decision by BMW to assemble an electric version of the Mini at Cowley is a vote of confidence in the UK industrial strategy to be the “go to” place for next-generation vehicles (Report, 26 July). The facts suggest otherwise. The key component for the electric version (the electric drivetrain) will come ready-made from Germany to be integrated into a variant of a car already in production at Cowley.
The only “go to” aspect of the arrangement seems to be that the key technology element will be made in Germany and “go to” Cowley. Good for jobs at Cowley maybe, but rather lame as an industrial strategy. Other countries, including Germany, Japan, China, France and the US, are investing significantly in technology for electric vehicles. If we really expect to be a major player in this new area we will have to invest on a similar scale, and there is little sign of that.
Rod Logan
Walton-on-Thames, Surrey

Switch to electric vehicles will not be enough to give us clean air | Letters | Technology | The Guardian

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