Category Archives: Pollution

Firms could be sued over diesel cancer

Employers have been told they are legally obliged to protect their staff from diesel fumes — and could be sued if workers develop cancer later in life.

The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have issued the warnings because diesel fumes have been reclassified as a

“grade 1 carcinogen”

meaning they are a

“definite cause of cancer”.

As many as 500,000 UK jobs are affected.

 

Researchers say 500,000 UK workers are exposed to diesel fumes (image: ALAMY)

The warning applies to a huge range of employees, including professional drivers, bus and railway station staff, rubbish collectors, garage mechanics and warehouse and construction workers.

Read more: The Times

How conniving carmakers caused the diesel air pollution crisis

Cheating, dodging rules and heavy lobbying by motor manufacturers fuelled the toxic air the UK is struggling with today.

Conniving car makers and their lobbying might, assisted by the 2008 financial crash, were the key factors in producing the diesel-fuelled air pollution crisis the UK is struggling with today, according to key observers of the disaster.

Earlier government decisions to incentivise diesel vehicles, which produce less climate-warming carbon dioxide, sparked the problem but were made in good faith. The heart of the disaster is instead a giant broken promise: the motor industry said it would clean up diesel but instead cheated and dodged the rules for years.

Cars displayed at the Geneva International Motor Show 2017. (Image: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The result has been that the air people breathe in cities and towns is now heavily polluted with toxic nitrogen dioxide, causing 23,500 premature deaths a year in the UK and affecting many schools. The government, whose inadequate plans have twice been declared illegal, will come up with a new, court-ordered strategy as soon as next week.

“We were told by the vehicle manufacturers the [diesel emissions] limits would be met and there was no problem,”

said Greg Archer, who was managing the UK government’s air pollution research two decades ago, when new tax breaks led to the diesel boom.

“What of course actually happened was those limits were not met on the road, as the car manufacturers started to turn down the after-treatment systems and cheat the tests.”

The government’s chief scientific adviser at the time, Sir David King, tells the same story:

“I was convinced the [motor manufacturers] could manage the problem. It turns out we were wrong.”

Read more: The Guardian

Thousands of British children exposed to illegal levels of air pollution

Exclusive: More than 2,000 schools and nurseries close to roads with damaging levels of diesel fumes, joint investigation by Guardian and Greenpeace reveals

Hundreds of thousands of children are being exposed to illegal levels of damaging air pollution from diesel vehicles at schools and nurseries across England and Wales, a joint investigation by the Guardian and Greenpeace’s investigations unit has revealed.

The analysis of the most recent government data exposes how dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution from diesel traffic are not limited to large metropolitan centres, but threaten the health of children and young people in towns and cities from Newcastle to Plymouth.

The research shows more than 1,000 nurseries which look after 47,000 babies and children are in close proximity to roads where the level of nitrogen dioxide from diesel traffic exceeds the legal limit of 40µg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre of air).

The findings come as the government is under pressure to dramatically improve its strategy to clean up the nation’s air, after the high court said its plans to reduce illegal levels of harmful emissions were so poor as to be unlawful. Ministers have to produce new draft measures to tackle air pollution by 24 April.

Chris Griffiths, professor of primary care and public health at Bart’s and the London School of Medicine, said the findings were very important and called for a dramatic change in attitudes within society and from government.

“The research on exposure to traffic fumes and children’s lung growth is pretty consistent. It shows that such exposure reduces lung growth, produces long term ill health and can cause premature death. We should be outraged that we are exposing our developing children to these obvious problems.”

Read More: The Guardian

Mexicans Lining up Electric to Beat Pollution

On a trip to Mexico City this week, I have just seen a lovely sight. A long row of all-electric Nissan Leafs lined up in a taxi rank ready to start the day.

Electric Taxi Rank in Mexico City

If you have ever been to Mexico City, then you will know that air pollution is a major issue here, as it is now becoming in all large cities. The taxi rank is not yet a full solution, and the city is still filled with diesels and petrol guzzlers blasting out noxious fumes, but it is a step in the right direction. I hope for many more.

Mass adoption of electric cars will send diesel extinct in UK, experts predict

Diesel technology is set to be a thing of the past, UK car industry executives believe.

The plan is to invest in the technology needed for battery electric vehicles over the next five years, according to 93% of executives while 62% felt that dieselis losing its importance for manufacturers.

Figures from KPMG’s annual global automotive executive survey also show that 90% of executives expect battery electric vehicles to dominate the marketplace by 2025.

Big shift expected in the next decade. Getty Images

John Leech, of KPMG, said:

“Improvements in the cost and range of battery technology, coupled with growing concern over the emission of both carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides from diesel engines, means that almost the whole automotive industry believes that the mass adoption of electric cars will happen during the next decade.”

Senior executives working for vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, financial and mobility service providers plus car users took part in the survey.

Some 74% of executives thought more than half of car owners today would not want to own a vehicle.

Researchers believe there will be fewer cars and therefore less money to be made from building vehicles in the future as people may opt to use, rent or pay for a car service rather than to own a car.

This was not feared as a looming problem because 85% of executives were convinced their company might make more money by providing new digital services than by selling cars alone.

Mr Leech said:

“Carmakers plan to sell a myriad of new digital services to vehicle users. Today car makers already make substantial profits from the sale of consumer finance and annual vehicle insurance but this will grow in the future as innovative services such as remote vehicle monitoring and the integration of the car as a focal point in people’s ever more connected lifestyles are demanded by consumers.”

Source: The Independent Online

Use pram covers ‘to protect babies from air pollution’ during school run

Parents should use pram covers to protect babies and young children from harmful air pollution during the school run, researchers suggest.

Traffic lights and bus stops were pollution hotspots and there were higher levels of pollution in the morning compared with the afternoon, the University of Surrey study said.

Young children are more at risk because their bodies are small and developing.

And they could be breathing in damaging substances, the study said.

A recent World Health Organization report said that 570,000 children under the age of five died every year from illnesses that could be linked to pollution.

The Surrey research, published in Environmental Pollution, was based on measurements from air monitoring equipment inside toddlers’ prams being pushed to and from schools during drop-off and pick-up times.

Scientists looked at pollution levels in prams during 64 trips, covering about 50 miles (80km), in Guildford.

Bus stops and traffic lights were the worst places for being exposed to the tiny particles from exhaust fumes and tyres that can get into the bloodstream.

And there were more of these harmful particles in the air during morning drop-off times, when traffic was at its busiest.

Dr Prashant Kumar, lead study author from the University of Surrey, said his findings were a warning to parents.

“Young children are far more susceptible to pollution than adults, due to their immature and developing systems and lower body weight,” he said.

“Essentially, children could be at risk of breathing in some nasty and harmful chemical species such as iron, aluminium and silica that form together the particles of various size ranges.”

Dr Kumar said the best way to stop this happening was to use a barrier between children in prams and the emissions from vehicle exhausts, especially at traffic lights, crossroads and bus stops.

He said his research team was also trying to find a way to clean the air around children sitting in their prams.

Source: BBC

Diesel car (Image: Y. Mok/PA)

Diesel drivers should think twice before buying – Transport Secretary

Drivers should think long and hard before buying a diesel car, the Transport Secretary has said.

Chris Grayling suggested motorists should consider buying a low-emission vehicle rather than spending their money on a diesel.

Diesel car (Image: Y. Mok/PA)
Diesel car (Image: Y. Mok/PA)

His intervention follows reports the Government is considering a scrappage scheme for diesel cars to improve air quality.

The reported scheme would see drivers offered a cash incentive for replacing an old diesel car with a low-emission vehicle.

Asked whether motorists should hesitate before buying a diesel, Mr Grayling told The Daily Mail:

“People should take a long, hard think about what they need, about where they’re going to be driving, and should make best endeavours to buy the least polluting vehicle they can.

“I don’t think diesel is going to disappear but someone who is buying a car to drive around a busy city may think about buying a low-emission vehicle rather than a diesel.”

Read more: MSN

Air pollution causes 40,000 early deaths in the UK and costs the country £27.5bn a year, according to a government estimate

End UK tax incentives for diesel vehicles, ministers are urged

Ministers are coming under growing pressure to remove tax incentives for diesel cars and offer compensation to motorists so they can swap to more environmentally friendly vehicles

A group of medical professionals, environmental campaigners and lawyers has written to the chancellor ahead of the budget to demand a change to the vehicle excise duty that they say subsidises diesel cars.

Separately, senior Labour and Tory politicians have called for a comprehensive vehicle scrappage scheme to help people with diesel cars change to greener alternatives.

Air pollution causes 40,000 early deaths in the UK and costs the country £27.5bn a year, according to a government estimate
Air pollution causes 40,000 early deaths in the UK and costs the country £27.5bn a year, according to a government estimate

The letter from campaigners, including the British Lung Foundation, Greenpeace and doctors’ groups, says toxic air poses a daily risk to people’s health – particularly the young and those suffering from lung problems.

“Air pollution has … been shown to stunt children’s lung growth, which could leave them with health problems in later life,” it states. “We all deserve to breathe clean air.”

On Saturday the Guardian revealed that thousands of children and young people at more than 800 nurseries, schools and colleges in London faced dangerous and illegal levels of toxic air, much of it from diesel cars.

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, indicated the government may bow to pressure, saying motorists should be wary of buying diesel cars, adding: “We’re going to have to really migrate our car fleet, and our vehicle fleet more generally, to cleaner technology.” However, he said that diesel “was not going to disappear”.

Air pollution causes 40,000 early deaths in the UK and costs the country £27.5bn a year, according to a government estimate. MPs have called it a public health emergency.

The letter adds:

“We know diesel vehicles, in particular diesel cars, are a major source of pollution in towns and cities … yet vehicle excise duty (VED) not only fails to recognise this, but is still incentivising them. We are therefore asking for a revision of the VED first-year rate in your upcoming budget statement.”

Read more: Edie.net

A new UK diesel car and van scrappage scheme could be launched in the 2017 Budget

Diesel scrappage scheme: Sadiq Khan warns diesel cars could be BANNED

MAYOR of London Sadiq Khan refuses to rule out a driving ban for the most polluting diesel and petrol cars in central London in a bid to reduce air pollution.

Sadiq Khan has warned that diesel cars could be banned from Central London in a bid to reduce air pollution.

This comes just a week after the Mayor announced a £10 toxicity charge for the oldest and most-polluting cars in the city, which will become effective in October.

Diesel cars that enter the congestion charge zone in central London will pat an additional T-charge of £10 on top of the £11.50 congestion charge.

A new UK diesel car and van scrappage scheme could be launched in the 2017 Budget
A new UK diesel car and van scrappage scheme could be launched in the 2017 Budget

Early predictions by the Mayor’s team believe that four in ten motorists will change their behaviour and stop entering the city centre.

In an interview on ITV’s Peston on Sunday the London Mayor claimed that “nothing is off the table” in relation to banning diesel cars.

“Well, I want to address the issue of poor quality air 365 days a year, not only on those days where the air is dangerous.”

“I’m using all the tools that i’ve got and we’re being innovative but the government has to do more.”

Air pollution contributes to the deaths of 9,000 Londoners annually and the level of harmful toxins in the air have exceeded legal limits regularly in the capital.

Read more: Express

Isis has made huge profits from captured oilfields (Image: Getty)

Electric Cars Could Cause Big Oil This Much Damage

The growth of battery-powered cars could be as disruptive to the oil market as the OPEC market-share war that triggered the price crash of 2014, potentially wiping hundreds of billions of dollars off the value from fossil fuel producers in the next decade.

About 2 million barrels a day of oil demand could be displaced by electric vehicles by 2025, equivalent in size to the oversupply that triggered the biggest oil industry downturn in a generation over the past three years, according to research from Imperial College London and the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a think tank, published Thursday. A similar 10 percent loss of market share caused the collapse of the U.S. coal mining industry and wiped more than a 100 billion euros ($108 billion) off the value of European utilities from 2008 to 2013, the report said.

(Image: Razzouk/Shutterstock)
(Image: Razzouk/Shutterstock)

Major oil companies are waking up to the potential disruption plug-in vehicles could have on their industry. BP Plc says electric vehicles, or EVs, could erase as much as 5 million barrels a day in the next 20 years, while analysts at Wood Mackenzie say they could erode as much as 10 percent of global gasoline demand over that time. Global oil demand could peak in as little as five years, according to Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry.

By 2040 16 million barrels a day of oil demand could be displaced, rising to 25 million by 2050, a

“stark contrast to the continuous growth in oil demand expected by industry,”

according to the report. The impact on the oil industry could exceed price slump of 2014 to 2016 that “wiped hundreds of billions off capex,” Stefano Ambrogi, a spokesman for the Carbon Tracker Institute, said by e-mail.

The cost of EVs is already falling faster than previous forecasts and they could reach parity with conventional internal combustion vehicles by 2020, eventually saturating the passenger vehicle market by 2050, the report said.

EVs may take 19 to 21 percent of the road transport market by 2035, according to the researchers. That’s three times BP’s projection of 6 percent market share in 2035. By 2050, EVs would comprise 69 percent of the road-transport market, with oil-powered cars accounting for about 13 percent.

Source: Bloomberg