With air quality pollution responsible for the deaths of 3,400 Londoners every year, action must be taken to clean up the capital’s roads by both policy makers and manufacturers. The emissions scandal has only heightened this crisis. Volkswagen has now revealed that nearly 1.2 million vehicles within the brand in the UK have been affected by the news.
It’s clear that cleaner and greener alternative fuels must populate London’s future automotive landscape. But what should this new landscape look like? Electric and hydrogen vehicles will deservedly benefit from further government and industry backing.
But in order to clean up our roads more quickly, a level playing field must be created to give equal recognition and support to all alternative fuels.
The backlash to the recent emissions scandal shows that consumers are clearly looking for reliable and clean fuels which are much less damaging to the environment and emit significantly fewer harmful pollutants. Both policy makers and manufacturers must start engaging with the respective alternative fuel industry bodies to see how they can support proposals for lower emissions.
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Despite its air quality and carbon-cutting credentials in comparison with both diesel and petrol, LPG has historically been ignored by the UK’s policy makers and the automotive world since incentives for motorists to convert their vehicles from petrol to LPG were suddenly removed by the government in 2005.
Unlike emerging fuels, LPG is ideally placed to make an immediate impact to reduce the pollutants plaguing our roads, especially those that are harmful to human health.
Equally, automotive LPG is a strong partner for future technologies. It has significant scope to work with fuel cells, plug-in hybrids and APU types. A hybrid solution could be applied, for example, as an alternative to lessen the impact of London’s taxis and delivery vans. It’s been predicted that the capital’s taxis will contribute to 50 per cent of the black carbon particulates linked to asthma and cancer that will be generated on London’s roads next year by diesel combustion.
It’s time to seize the opportunity to map out the future of low-carbon transport for London - and to give consumers a chance to more widely benefit from the range of proven solutions that alternative fuels offer.