A peak in air pollution brought a drastic change to transport habits in Paris for one day, following a combination of unseasonably hot weather and diesel cars fumes. No strangers to air pollution regularly exceeding EU limits, the authorities in the French capital banned all cars with even-numbered licence plates from entering the city on 17 March due to exceptionally high levels. The idea was to ban odd-numbered plates the next day, but that proved unnecessary as a 25% reduction in traffic and cooler weather brought pollution levels down.
The European Commission is taking legal action against the UK over claims it is exceeding limits on air pollution from traffic. Britain has two months to respond to the case that it breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, which cause breathing and other health problems.
The health of millions of European citizens is being put at risk by carmakers’ failure to put cheap particle filters on new direct-injection petrol engines. The new engines are more fuel-efficient and emit much less carbon dioxide than traditional petrol engines, but T&E-commissioned testing shows they typically emit around 1,000 times more harmful particles, which cause cancer and pose other threats to human health.
Pollution from road traffic could have a greater role in harming the health of children than previously thought. A new study based on research in 10 European cities estimates that 14% of chronic childhood asthma is a result of traffic pollution near busy roads.
A new study has recommended Europe should have a single fuel economy and carbon dioxide labelling system for cars. The study by the British consultancy AEA looked at the labelling systems in operation in eight member states, and found some compare a car with the whole car market while others show only how it compares with others of the same type. It says comparisons against the whole of the available car fleet are likely to be more useful in the absence of further research. Another report in 2010 also recommended a harmonised approach to labelling.