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Carbon Emissions

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to reduce emissions of black carbon in England and Wales. (296920)

Black carbon emissions are being tackled as part of a wider package of measures to reduce particulate matter (PM) emissions across the UK. Black carbon is emitted through combustion processes and is a constituent of PM, which is consistently associated with respiratory and cardio-vascular illness and mortality. Black carbon is also a global warming agent.

Measures to reduce particulate matter emissions are included in the UK Government's time extension notification:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/air-quality/index.htm

under the ambient air quality directive (2008/50/EC), which sets out how EU ambient air quality limits for PM will be met in the few remaining at-risk areas by 2011. This includes parts of London, and the Government have been working with the Mayor of London on a draft Air Quality Strategy:

http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/environment/air_quality/docs/AQS09.pdf

which includes new measures to address particulate emissions, particularly from transport sources, across the capital.

Emissions from diesel vehicles are one significant source of black carbon so the introduction of measures that encourage the early uptake of new vehicles compliant with the most stringent European vehicle emission standards is being pursued.