Government officials have called for an urgent review of car brakes and tyres as well as road wear over concerns about pollution.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey and Transport Minister Michael Ellis said dust from brakes and tyres is adding to the nation’s dirty air and will continue to do so even when emissions levels are reduced by electric cars.
And they also claim that fragments of microplastics from these vehicle components and from road surfaces is flowing into rivers and the sea.
The UK Government wants to push through new standards and requirements for vehicle brakes and tyres to reduce their impact on air pollution
A new report published by the government’s Air Quality Expert Group said particles from brake wear, tyre use and road surface degradation directly contributes to more than half of particle pollution from road transport.
‘Each time a car is driven, tiny pieces of particulate matter such as dust are released into the air from the brake wear, tyre wear and road surface wear,’ the report said.
‘These particles enter the airstream having a detrimental impact on human health for drivers, passengers and bystanders.
‘Plastic particles from tyres are also deposited into our sewers and lead to harmful consequences to our marine wildlife and aquatic food chains.’
It warned that ‘urgent action’ was needed to address the problem, which it predicts will account for 10 per cent of national emissions of harmful particulate matter by 2030.
And ministers raised the concern that the issue of brake, tyre and road surface emissions would not go away even when motorists make the switch to electric cars.
The UK Government now intends to enforce a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel car by 2040 in an effort to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions, but said component pollution would continue to exist beyond this deadline unless action was taken.
It is calling for industry to support the development of a emissions measurement for these components, leading to a new international standard for tyre and brake wear.
Ministers warned that ‘urgent action’ was needed to address the environmental impact of car tyres and brakes, which it predicts will account for 10% of harmful particulate matter by 2030
Environment minister Thérèse Coffey said: ‘Emissions from car exhausts have been decreasing through development of cleaner technologies and there is now a need for the car industry to find innovative ways to address the challenges of air pollution from other sources’.
Transport minister Michael Ellis added: ‘With record levels of ultra-low emission vehicles on the UK’s roads, things are clearly moving in the right direction.
‘To continue this progress, we are looking for ways to reduce emissions from other sources such as brakes and tyres.
‘We are engaging at an international level to identify how to measure these emissions as well as aiming to develop standards to control them.’
Industry experts say the automotive sector is already working on a plan to measure the emissions of car tyres and brakes
Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said the industry is well aware of the issue and is working on solutions having already invested heavily in technology to reduce exhaust emissions from the latest cars.
‘Brake, tyre and road wear is a recognised challenge as emissions from these sources are not easy to measure,’ he said.
‘A United Nations global group, including industry experts and government, is working to better understand, and agree how to measure, these emissions.
‘Maintenance of the road surface, as well as further investment in new vehicle technologies, is essential to reducing these emissions, without compromising safety and we welcome further research in this area.’
Diesel isn’t dirty anymore, says Bosch
Engineering company Bosch says it has found a solution that will ‘put a stop, once and for all, to the debate about the demise of diesel technology’.
Those were the words of ceo Dr. Volkmar Denner at the firm’s annual press conference earlier this year, where it announced a decisive breakthrough in diesel technology.
He claims the development could enable vehicle manufacturers to reduce emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) so drastically that they can already comply with limits due to be enforced from 2020.
Bosch says it has created new technology that can be installed in diesel cars to siginficantly reduce their emissions
CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner said the breakthrough would ‘put a stop, once and for all, to the debate about the demise of diesel technology’
From next year, EU legislation requires all new models to produce less than 120 milligrams of NOx during a controlled test cycle.
But Bosch says today’s diesel vehicles fitted with its new system can achieve as little as 13mg of NOx in the same measurement – approximately one-tenth of the prescribed limit enforced from 2020.
The technology is a combination of advanced fuel-injection, a newly developed air management system, and intelligent temperature management.
‘NOx emissions can now remain below the legally permitted level in all driving situations, irrespective of whether the vehicle is driven dynamically or slowly, in freezing conditions or in summer temperatures, on the freeway or in congested city traffic,’ the German company claimed.
‘Diesel will remain an option in urban traffic, whether drivers are tradespeople or commuters,’ Denner added.
When fitted to current diesel cars, emissions of harmful NOx can be lowered well below the legal threshold for new models that comes into force next year
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