Commenting on proposals put forward by think tank Policy Exchange, RAC public affairs manager Nick Lyes said:
“The RAC recognises that improving local air quality is an extremely important issue, however the focus should be on encouraging owners of older diesel vehicles to switch to cleaner models; This could include new, cleaner diesels as a Euro 6 diesel vehicle emits significantly lower NOx and particulate emissions than a Euro 5 diesel. Cleaner diesel vehicles also have an important role to play in reducing CO2 emissions, which are the primary cause of climate change.
“It also important to note that poor air quality is predominantly a local issue. The RAC feels that clean air zones, which specifically target areas where emissions are high, could be part of the solution to discourage older, dirtier vehicles from entering areas where nitrogen oxide emissions and particulates are at problematic levels. Efforts should also be made to clean up all vehicles that contribute to the problem, including older buses and taxis.
“If this proposal were to be adopted by the Government, it could cause a swing in demand that motor manufacturers might have difficultly handling because production capacity is geared to the current mix of petrol and diesel engines. It could also penalise light commercial vehicle purchasers whose vehicle duties are often far more suited to diesels because of the engine speed/torque relationships for Diesels which allows a heavily loaded vehicle to pull away from a standing start at low revs."