The Department for Transport (DFT) plays a key role in negotiating ever-tighter air quality standards for vehicles at EU level. The European Council recently voted for the latest set of Euro standards (Euro 5 and 6 for light duty vehicles), negotiated by DFT. Euro 6, due to come into force in 2015, will deliver a 68 per cent. reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from diesel cars and vans, in comparison to the Euro 4 levels.
DFT requires local authorities to produce local transport plans (LTPs). Local authorities submitted their five-year LTPs in 2006, which cover all of England outside of London. In its guidance, DFT emphasised the importance of air quality by making it one of four shared priorities in the LTP.
The UK’s new Air Quality Strategy, published in July 2007, recommended that the Government further consider three new transport measures: incentives for the early uptake of new Euro standards; increased uptake of low emission vehicles; and reduced emissions from ships. Discussions have already begun across Government as to the possible implementation of these measures.