London, 22 April 1999.
For immediate release.

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Air Quality Improving: Institute of Economic Affairs
Truth Contrasts with Distorted Picture Painted by Environmentalists
The Institute of Economic Affairs has established, using published government figures, that UK air quality has improved dramatically in recent years and can only continue to improve.

Together with the Government's own monitoring figures, which show that levels of all the main pollutants from cars are well within safe limits specified by the World Health Organisation (See Ceefax pp412-417), this shows that there is no excuse for air quality to be cited as a justification for restricting car use.

"Environmentalists - and even some less responsible government sources - have in recent years made alarmist allegations that air pollution in our major towns and cities has reached lung-choking levels and is set to continue rising (e.g. "Don't Choke Britain" campaign)," says ABD Chairman Brian Gregory. "The truth is very different, as the IEA has shown. The ABD has been pointing this out for years, but nobody has been listening."

The environmentalists, in the shape of Jonathan Porritt on the Today Programme this morning, claim they welcome these improvements and try to take the credit for them.

FUNNY HOW THEY ARE SO RETICENT IN CLAIMING THIS CREDIT UNTIL SOMEONE ELSE POINTS OUT WHAT IS GOING ON!

COULD IT BE THEY HAVE A VESTED INTEREST IN PERPETUATING THE ILLUSION OF AIR QUALITY PROBLEMS?

Air Quality Improvement Highlights:

Supporting Points:
  1. UK Public Service vehicles (buses) are not currently subject to emissions controls.
    • Figures generated by the National Environment Technology Centre in 1997 have shown that a typical bus generates 39 times the NOx and 128 times the particulate levels of a modern, catalysed petrol-engined car.
    • Particulates produced by old technology diesel vehicles have been shown by research workers at Kyoto University to be potentially carcinogenic.
    If government is genuinely interested in achieving improved urban air quality, it must act to close this serious environmental loophole.

  2. Ground level ozone, generated by the interaction between VOC's and oxygen in the presence of light of certain frequencies, is destroyed by NOx emissions. This is why ozone levels are higher in rural areas than in heavily trafficed towns.

    An unfortunate consequence of the substantial NOx emission reductions (achieved through improvements in automotive engine and fuel technology), has been a deceleration in the decline of ground level ozone concentrations, for the following reasons:

    a. The lack of significant decline in VOC emissions in the UK.

    This is partly a consequence of the regulatory restrictions on the use of lead in fuel. All new cars in Europe must be fitted with catalytic converters which are poisoned by lead. All new cars must consequently run on unleaded petrol, containing alternative "octane boosting" chemicals high in VOC's.

    b. The largest single source of vehicle-related VOC emissions arises from fuel vapours released during refuelling operations.

    The UK government has steadfastly declined to legislate to compel petrol retailers to instal fuel vapour recovery equipment to eliminate this totally unnecessary emission source.

    c. In Summer, VOC's emanating from vegetation, tree saps, leaf fluids etc.. represent the largest single urban (& rural) VOC source.

    With city- and country dwellers demanding ever more 'environmentally harmonious' surroundings, VOC emissions from this source are only likely to increase.

  3. The 1994 Royal Commission on Transport & the Environment concluded (Appendix B, pp.289-300) that emissions from road transport sources were set to fall by between 67% and 81% of peak 1990 levels (dependent on emission type) even assuming the worst case traffic level projections.
Air quality can therefore only go on improving as the UK vehicle pool is renewed and fuel quality improvements continue. Government can play its full part by regulating gross public transport polluters and through requiring installation of fuel vapour recovery by petrol retailers.

Next time a politician or environmentalist tells you that Draconian restrictions on car use and swingeing road user taxation increases are needed, to protect people's health, expose their lies.

Motorists are being ripped off. Join the Association of British Drivers' fight for fair treatment of road users:
DON'T LET THEM TAX YOU OUT OF YOUR CAR!

 

Notes for Editors