The City of London Corporation announced Friday it will ban the use of diesel vehicles for its business in order to protect “workers and residents from air pollution.”
“This agreement is a major step forward in our drive to protect the millions of London tourists, workers and residents from air pollution,” Chris Bell, head of procurement at the City of London Corporation, said in a statement.
He added: “We are taking responsibility for the cleanliness of our fleet and encouraging the use of low and zero emission vehicles with our partners.”
The corporation, which governs the city of London, said it has reduced nitrous oxides (NOx) emission levels by nearly 40 percent since 2009 – NOx is one of the primary pollutants emitted by diesel vehicles. Along with relying more on hybrid vehicles for business, the corporation is also promoting the use of cleaner burning vehicles in the private sector.
“It’s no longer ‘if’ but ‘where’ and ‘when’ diesel will be banned,” Clean Air in London founder Simon Birkett told BusinessGreen, adding that the ban is meant to show London Mayor Sadiq Khan that diesel vehicle bans are possible and effective.
The mission to purge the market, and public facilities, of any and all diesel vehicles may stem from a 2015 study showing emissions from Volkswagen diesel cars killed 59 Americans and hurt dozens more. The Environmental Protection Agency cites the study to justify stricter regulations on ozone and other pollutants.
“We estimate the public health impacts and associated costs of the alleged [Clean Air Act] violations by VW due to defeat devices being present in model year 2009–2015 light duty diesel vehicles with 2.0 litre engines,” reads the oft-cited study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.
VW admitted in September to installing a type of cheating device in hundreds of thousands of diesel-powered vehicles, including in many high-selling models such as the Beetle and Porsche Cayenne.
Other researchers, however, say the study is mostly bunkum, as it is impossible to show a connection between ozone levels and deaths.
“There’s just a whole host of things that are wrong with that [conclusion],” Michael Honeycutt, the lead toxicologist at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Michael Bastasch in 2015. “We have no documentation of anyone being killed by ozone.”
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