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Vehicle Emissions And Driving Conditions

Volume 81: debated on Thursday 20 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether he has any intention of increasing controls over vehicle emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, or oxides of nitrogen; and if he will make a statement about the effectiveness of present controls in reducing emissions of cars under (a) typical driving conditions and (b) the European test drive cycle;(2) if he is satisfied that the European test drive cycle adequately represents average or typical driving conditions in the United Kingdom today.

Most vehicles are at present subject to type approval regulations limiting the amounts of these three pollutants to the levels permitted under EC directive 78/665/EEC. These levels are reduced by directive 83/351/EEC which we intend to apply in our regulations in due course. All measurements are made under the test cycle prescribed in the directive which is designed to stimulate typical driving conditions in congested urban areas.The Council of Ministers has recently agreed that work should be done over the next two years to formulate additional non-urban driving sequences so as more adequately to represent modern driving conditions in Europe, and we shall be participating in this work.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what study he has made of the effect of traffic growth, as predicted in the new national road traffic forecasts, on the level of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and oxides of nitrogen emitted into the environment.

No detailed study has been made, but the rate of reduction of maximum levels of these three pollutants permitted from new vehicles coming into service over the next decade is expected to be faster than the forecast rate of increase of road traffic.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he is satisfied with the present controls on emission of smoke from diesel engines; and what study he has made about whether a higher standard could be (a) technically and (b) economically achieved.

The standard for maximum smoke from diesel engines is contained in EC directive 72/306/EEC. There is evidence from a number of sources that a stricter standard is now technically and economically achievable, and we shall be pressing for this in Community discussions on a revision to the directive.