The UK government recently launched its Clean Air Strategy 2018 that plans to develop new standards for tyres/brakes that will target particulate matter (PM) emissions, with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5), from vehicles. In 2012, Defra estimated that around 18% of PM2.5 emissions come from vehicle exhausts, while 11% are from tyre and brake wear.
Due to the minute size, PM2.5 emissions are capable of bypassing human noses and throats, penetrating deep into the lungs and are linked to a number of health conditions, including respiratory illnesses.
The new strategy sets out the government’s goal that by 2025, it will halve the number of people living in locations where concentrations of PM2.5 are above the World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline limit of 10 ug/m3 by 2025.
The new Clean Air Strategy from the Department of Health, Public Health England and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will
also introduce legislation to enable the Transport Secretary to compel manufacturers to recall vehicles and machinery for any failures in their emissions control system, and make tampering with an emissions control system a legal offence. The government also intends to research and develop new standards for tyres and brakes “to address toxic non-exhaust emissions of micro plastics from vehicles which can pollute air and water.”
It will also introduce new primary legislation, which will give local government new powers to improve air quality and legislate to ensure only the cleanest domestic fuels will be available for sale, preventing 8,000 tonnes of harmful particulate matter from entering the atmosphere each year.
These proposals are in addition to the government’s £3.5 billion plan to reduce air pollution from road transport and diesel vehicles, as set out last year.