The UK government has repeatedly said that they are doing everything they can to address the problem of air pollution. However, the National Audit Office (NAO) is not satisfied. They believe the current policy measures on toxic air won’t be enough to help the government reach their 2030 air quality targets.
While it is true that air pollution numbers have started going down, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions in the UK are still too high and exceed the legal limits. This has been the case since 2010. Particulate matter (PM2.5) is also a major contributor to toxic air and has devastating effects on human health. Air pollution, in general, impacts human health in several ways. Concerns regarding these pollutants are ripe as the UK government is scheduled to decide on a new legal target for air pollution reduction and elimination.
Another issue that the NAO said the government should focus on is the availability of reliable information on air quality. The Defra or Environment Department should make the details easy to access and understand. There has to be clear information about the effects of constant exposure to air pollution. Communications campaigns intended to help the public understand Clean Air Zones (CAZ) and the need for efficient measures against air pollution are essential. Road users need to know they can be charged if they enter any CAZ.
NAO requested the UK government to review the way they communicate and engage with the public in terms of the Clean Air Zones. Their approach should be able to explain to the public what the CAZs are, what their purpose is, what their similarities and differences are, and what the consequences are for vehicles that are non-compliant with the zones’ rules.
The Clean Air Zones drive is a significant campaign for reducing air pollution. Studies conducted in some of the zones indicate a decrease in the volume of pollutant vehicles in the streets and better travel behaviour. The CAZs have also helped improve the quality of air in the areas covered.
While there have been significant movements in the air pollution campaign, a lot still needs to be done. The overall programme that the UK government uses to tackle NO2 pollution is not progressing as fast and efficiently as expected.
England has 64 local authorities that breached the legal limits for NO2. Of these, 14 have started practising their anti-pollution programmes, 16 areas are already emissions-compliant, and seven still have not adhered to the government’s plans.
Across England, 17 out of 31 sections are non-compliant with pollution limits and do not have campaigns or measures that address emissions problems.
Nitrogen dioxide emissions
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions are dangerous to both the environment and human health. When NO2 interacts with NO or nitric oxide, it becomes NOx or nitrogen oxide. NOx is what diesel vehicles emit. Given prolonged exposure to it, detrimental effects can be observed in the environment and human health.
Plants and crops exposed to nitrogen oxide can become more sensitive to the damaging effects of frost.
NOx exposure is also said to trigger mental health issues, specifically depression and anxiety.
Its effects on human health are of different levels. Exposure to small amounts of NOx can lead to health issues such as asthma, aggravated asthma, headaches, breathing problems, eye irritation, corroded teeth, and respiratory problems.
Constant exposure to high levels of nitrogen oxide can result in increased risk for cancer and cardiovascular diseases, chronically reduced lung function, asphyxiation, and premature death.
Dieselgate emissions scandal
NOx was thrust into the spotlight in 2015 when the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal first broke. US authorities found defeat devices in Volkswagen diesel vehicles sold in the American market.
A defeat device is designed to detect when a vehicle is in regulatory emissions lab testing. Once it does, the device reduces the vehicle’s emissions levels so these would stay within the limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
When the vehicle is brought out and driven in real-world road conditions, the device reverts emission levels to default settings and the vehicle emits NOx or nitrogen oxide in amounts many times higher than the EU and WHO regulations.
As such, Volkswagen lied to their customers since they marketed and sold the vehicles as safe and clean; and environmentally friendly. In reality, the vehicles were pollutants and responsible for spreading toxic fumes.
Aside from VW, other manufacturers were also implicated in the diesel emissions scandal, including Mercedes-Benz.
Car owners affected by the scandal are encouraged to file a diesel compensation claim against their manufacturer. The compensation will pay for the inconvenience that the defeat device has caused you. It also compensates for the NOx emissions that made the vehicle a pollutant.
Filing my diesel claim
How should I file my diesel claim?
The Dieselgate claim process is challenging and time-consuming, so the best way to go about it is to work with a panel of emissions solicitors. They are experienced and highly trained, and can help make your claim successful.
Choose to work with the panel of emissions solicitors at ClaimExperts.co.uk. They offer a no-win-no-fee guarantee, which means you won’t have to worry about your expenses. Visit their website now to see if you are eligible to claim.