Time To Take Action
The U.K. Supreme Courts have issued the government with rulings that they must take urgent steps in order to reduce air pollution in cities and congested areas. With the increase in air pollution resulting in a higher rate of respiratory afflictions and a much more damaging effect on a high number of the U.K. population, the deadline for these urgent steps to begin has been set just a few months away in December 2015.
With the U.K. government already being fined by the European Commission for not acting fast enough to reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), environmental groups responsible for drafting the plans that would reduce air pollution have strongly recommended a reduction in the amount of diesel cars and trucks in city areas.
This comes shortly after plans to cut out diesel cars completely by 2020 were drafted up in Paris, France. The Parisian mayor wants to implement pedestrianization over parts of the city on weekends and hopefully then extend the plans to take action during weekdays. Only emergency services, cars belonging to residents within those areas and delivery drivers would be able to access the pedestrian sectors of the city at anytime.
More radical plans are desperately needed for the U.K. in order to keep up with other European States. If we continue at our current rate, according to the group of climate lawyers ClientEarth, larger cities such as London, Leeds and Birmingham would not reach acceptable levels of NO2 until 2030 at least. The change needs to be implemented much faster, especially considering the low rate of renewable energy installed in the U.K. when compared to other EU Nations.
Although here in the U.K. we saw a huge increase in the total capacity of renewable energy last year and even though the current solar boom is forever climbing, we still don’t compete with Germany and France who have seen a much bigger increase in the total amount of renewable energy projects.
It’s Not All Bad News
In the 20 period from 1992 – 2012 the NO2 and background emission have been halved and that since 2010 roadside concentrations of NO2 have been reduced by a further 15%. This is thanks to advances in diesel engines and their technological improvements to make them much more environmentally friendly and economically viable.
Hopefully with new plans in place the U.K. can catch up to the rest of Europe in the nest few years.