Low-emission zone rejected by Sheffield City Council

21/01/2014

A London-style low emission zone, following research aimed at improving the quality across the region, by Sheffield City Council.

Investigations have been going underway by Sheffield Council about ways to reduce NOx emission levels to comply with the EU guidelines that are coming in to force in 2015. The London LEZ model is likely to be very expensive to try and solve this problem and may even bring its own problems, such as, push emissions problems into neighbouring areas and be less effective in cities that are not as densely populated.

Sheffield council is looking at taking a focus on solving the main emissions problems from buses, taxis, and the worst polluting 15% of vans and 10% of lorries, over 3.5 tonnes, along with looking at more fuel-efficient driving and better routeing. Data recording has been carried out by the Council on real-time emissions, the results show that while particulate matter levels have been dropping as engine and exhaust technology improves, NOx levels are also reducing but a lot slower, and will not reach the desired levels by 2015.

Sheffields Council stated: One reason for this is the poor NOx performance of newer Euro-5 vehicles in Sheffield, which was observed in the emissions data collected for this study, but also supported by similar evidence from other recent research studies.

The study recommends more research and action into the performance of large Euro-5 vehicles in urban areas, and evidence that Euro-6 actual performance is in line with the required emissions standards.

Malcolm Bingham, head of road network management policy, said: It was significant that the research had shown reductions in PM for each new Euro standard introduced. However, it was disappointing that the level of NOx emissions had not followed suit, particularly when you consider the investment that the road freight industry has made in improving vehicle standards across the board.

Bingham continued: However, Euro-6 engines are designed to deal with the NOx issue, and some of the Sheffield monitoring data indicates that there is a significant improvement where those engines have been observed; the industry will move to those engines in the next few years.

Malcolm agreed with the recommendations that Council had suggested in the report for operators to look to improve driver training on fuel efficiency and encouraging participation in South Yorkshires ECO Stars scheme were efficient and reasonable.

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