Fewer cars not cleaner ones key to tackling air quality says professor

Posted: August 4, 2017 by oldbrew in opinion, pollution, Travel

Even electric cars can’t cut the mustard in polluted cities, according to this BBC report at least.

Plans to promote electric vehicles in the UK do not go far enough to tackle air pollution, according to a leading government adviser. Writing in the Guardian, Prof Frank Kelly said fewer cars, not just cleaner ones, were the key to cleaner air.

Electric cars produce particulates from their tyres and brakes which are linked to serious health problems. Prof Kelly said that London should lead the way in promoting non-polluting transport policies.

Just last week the government unveiled its strategy for tackling illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air. The key element was a promise to end the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars from 2040.

The government said there would be significant investments in ultra-low emission vehicles, with some £600m going into the development and manufacture of such vehicles by 2020.

But according to Frank Kelly, who is professor of environmental health at Kings College London, and chair of the government advisory committee on the medical effects of air pollutants, these steps would not go far enough.
“Our cities need fewer cars, not just cleaner cars,” Prof Kelly writes.

One issue is that electric vehicles will not sufficiently reduce particulate matter (PM), the other toxic pollutant emitted by road transport. “This is because PM components include not only engine emissions, but also a contribution from brake and tyre wear and road surface abrasion,” he added.

The government has focused on dealing with nitrogen dioxide because of consistent breaches of legal limits in many areas of the country. However levels of PM are not above the law, although they do breach World Health Organisation recommended safety guidelines.

Continued here.

  1. JB says:

    “Stupidity cannot be cured with money, education, or legislation. It is the universal capital offense. Execution is automatic without pity.”–Robert Heinlein

  2. ivan says:

    Maybe the good professor should have also talked with some engineers to enable him to understand that there are some things you have to live with if you need to move large numbers of people. All forms of transport, including bicycles and even walking, will produce PM to some extent – you even get PM blowing in the wind from agricultural areas.

    To an extent he is correct but this is a Guardian article and as we all know the Guardian is very short on science but very large on hyperbole in their science articles. This article reads like it was written to support the green blob’s legal actions against the government.

  3. stpaulchuck says:

    and of course when you add in all the buses and extra trains and taxi’s to transport the people formerly in cars, all the particulate “pollution” will magically disappear. *spit*

    [for background on the particulate scam read up on PM2.5 and how the U.S. and the UN have been scamming the world on the subject as one more tool to dictate to us and take away cars and other personal vehicles that mean freedom of movement]

  4. nzrobin says:

    I suppose we should consider then the beneficial effect of regenerative braking; making less brake dust.

  5. tom0mason says:

    Few professors and less of them pontificating about climate is what the world needs.
    Professors have as much knowledge about guiding political policy as a bishop, a pop singer, and are arguably less compliant competent at it than any mother.

  6. tom0mason says:

    Oops… typo…should be…

    “…and are arguably less competent at it than any mother.

  7. MikeA says:

    Any pointers as to where one can read up on particulates etc?

  8. Tim Hammond says:

    MikeA, http://junkscience.com/ has plenty on PM junk science, including published papers that show that the studies are extremely poor.

  9. Tim Hammond says:

    What irritates me even more that the junk science being pumped out by these people, is the Authority fallacy virtually all of them indulge in.

    This person is a professor of Environmental Health. So he is qualified to talk about health, not about politics, transportation or anything else. Fine, tell us our air is full of stuff that might cause us problems.

    But to then to leap to the solution when you have no expertise in any of the disciplines required, nor to consider the “political” issue of whether we might be willing to live with the risk given the obvious and huge benefits of cars, is simply wrong.

  10. A C Osborn says:

    “cars produce particulates from their tyres and brakes”, so Clean the Bloody roads, like they used to do.

  11. dscott says:

    First they complained that cars polluted the air, so we fixed that. Then they complained about the asbestos brake pads, we fixed that. Then they complained that cars used carbon fuel, so we fixed that. Now they complain that brakes and tires are polluting the air.

    Really? Is there nothing that will satisfy these people?

    No, the agenda is clear, the whole point of the endless complaining is to make everyone a serf, stuck in a square mile to be ruled over by the lord of the manor. Wasn’t there some English lord who whined about the peasants milling about when trains became more available?

  12. Bitter&Twisted says:

    Kelly is a classic example of “intelligent but idiot”.
    The Government, it’s advisers and the Civil Service is stuffed with them.

  13. Curious George says:

    We need fewer cars and fewer professors.

  14. Sphene says:

    Perhaps flying cars will help with the particulate problem.


  15. oldbrew says:

    Sounds a bit risky Sphene 😉

    How about hover cars?

    They might blow away the road dust.

    ‘Dust kicked up by vehicles traveling on roads may make up 33% of air pollution.’

  16. oldbrew says:

    More re Mazda’s new compression ignition petrol engine…

    Mazda press release…
    ‘This new proprietary combustion engine combines the advantages of gasoline and diesel engines to achieve outstanding environmental performance, power and acceleration performance.’

    – – –

    Dodgy marketing…’Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030′

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