Air quality, Sheffielders choking to death, and R4 Costing the Earth: The Diesel Decade

We sent this to SCC bods who need to know

Dear cllr or officer

As you know CycleSheffield uses the arguments about the need to improve Sheffield’s air quality both to promote cycling and to object to aspects of traffic schemes (cf Penistone Rd).

We would like to bring to your attention the R4 programme Costing the Earth: The Diesel Decade which was broadcast yesterday
It can be listened to for another 5 days here

In summary:
Modern vehicles do not perform according to their given performance data because the data is mostly gotten from bench tests ;
When driven by people modern vehicles’ performance on emissions can be up to 7 times worse than the makers’ data from bench tests;
Motor manufacturers know this;
Politicians originally concentrated on legislation wrt COx emissions and NOx and PM legislation and targets are much weaker ;
Car taxes and business taxes favour diesel engines;.
There has been a rise in NOx and PM pollution especially cities linked to the increase in commercial and private diesel engines;
COx emissions have reduced worldwide but citizens in cities and towns are choking to death on NOx and PM pollution (Heart attacks may have strong links to breathing exhaust fumes).

At a recent CycleForum we leaned that the new diesel engines in Sheffield’s fleet of buses are performing no better than the old ones when it comes to pollution. The programme found that a journey sitting in in a taxi had the highest NOx/PM pollution.

We thought you may find this documentary useful for yourselves and you may wish to forward this to other cllrs and officers concerned. It may also be useful when briefing Sheffield MPs about the total costs of road schemes.

We trust it leads to at least a review of the Air Quality Action Plan and its successor policies, and it is kept in the front of minds in all discussions about traffic schemes and traffic flow in and around Sheffield, e.g. Tinsley and the Lower Don Valley


Mick Nott

Chair, CycleSheffield

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