Recently we have begun to understand that the risks to health from road transport emissions are now far greater than previously thought. The UK Government’s scientific advisory body has estimated that annually up to 60,000 people in the UK may die prematurely as a result of air pollution. Diesel engines generally emit higher levels of nitrogen dioxide than petrol engines and 70% of all air pollution in urban areas can now be directly linked to road transport. Forecasted population and employment increases will generate additional vehicle traffic leading to even poorer air quality and health impacts unless steps are taken to tackle this problem.
The Government has given a commitment to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2040. Many UK Cities such as London, Leeds and Birmingham are introducing Clean Air or Ultra Low Emission Zones while others are currently developing Clean Air Plans. Such Zones aim to improve air quality by reducing the number of vehicles entering their Cities which are not classified at Ultra Low Emission Vehicles.