Clean Air Strategy 2019: A load of hot air?

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If you have been paying attention to what the UK Government has been doing recently (apart from Brexit), you may have noticed that after a long wait, it managed to publish its Clean Air Strategy. We have spoken at length on what we consider the government’s priorities should be. But is this reflected in the new strategy?

It talks a good game on what the government is doing, and plans to do, on improving air quality from transport sources. It references the Road to Zero policy paper, and money that has already been invested in making this a reality. One interesting new thing is that new laws are planned to compel manufacturers to recall vehicles and non-road mobile machinery for any failures in their emissions control system, and to take effective action against tampering with vehicle emissions control systems. Considering the dent in public confidence from Dieselgate, this can only be welcomed.

In truth, there is very little to argue against in the strategy itself. Where you can take issue is in how bold it is. Clearly, the bolder the better, but any actions that improve local air quality are to be welcomed.

What we did not notice in the strategy was the role for technological solutions outside of changes to combustion engines, including transferring to electric propulsion. We think that the government has missed a trick in this regard. Solutions such as ours have significant potential to reduce emissions by enabling a number of seemingly small actions (e.g. not revving engines) to be tackled at scale across fleets.

The proof will be in delivery, and we hope that support for technologies that will reduce air pollution will be forthcoming. We await these with baited breath.