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Study suggests diesel car release 50
© Jinny Goodman

Study: ‘Diesel cars release 50% more emissions’

17/05/17Environment

According to new research, diesel cars are releasing 50% more toxic emissions than they should be if all were complying with pollution laws.

The new report by the University of York, UK, and the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) suggests that in Europe the failure to meet emissions standards could be leading to the deaths of 11,500 people every year.

Between 2008 and 2015 Volkswagen fitted diesel cars so they could pass stringent environmental tests while emitting dangerous levels of pollution. However, until now it was unclear if other car companies had fitted similar so-called ‘defeat devices’.

The new research concluded that diesel vehicles are emitting far more nitrogen oxides than they should for reasons which could range from ‘engine calibration to equipment failure, inadequate maintenance, tampering by vehicle owners, the deliberate use of defeat devices, or simply deficient certification test procedures.’

Roy Harrison, professor of environmental health, University of Birmingham, UK, said: “This is a rigorous study which highlights the serious consequences which have resulted directly from the irresponsible actions of the motor manufacturers in producing vehicles which meet regulatory requirements under test conditions, but emit far higher pollutant levels during on-road use.

“The study may well underestimate the full consequences for public health as it quantifies only the effects of particulate matter and ozone formed in the atmosphere as a result of excess nitrogen oxides emissions, but not the direct effects of the oxides of nitrogen themselves.”

The UK government is currently planning an incentive scheme to allow diesel owners to scrap their cars for money, if they are older models and registered at an address where air pollution is already at dangerous levels.

The research was published in the journal Nature.