Road transport drags down air pollution efforts

Road transport is again dragging down efforts to reduce air pollution across the EU. The latest report on compliance with the directive that sets National Emissions Ceilings for four pollutants shows 10 countries and the EU as a whole failing on nitrogen oxides emissions, largely because road transport is failing to deliver expected cuts.

[mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]In its annual report published this month, the European Environment Agency (EEA) says the EU as a whole missed its target for reducing NOx emissions by 17%. The worst offenders are Germany, France and Austria, who all recorded NOx levels at least 30% higher than their targets.

As road transport contributed more than 40% of total EU NOx emissions in 2009, it is the primary cause of the failure to reach the reduction targets. The EEA says NOx per vehicle has been reduced, but not by as much as was originally expected because ‘vehicle emissions standards have not always delivered the anticipated level of reductions’. It also says the road transport sector has grown more than expected.

T&E programme manager, Arne Richters, said: ‘This emphasises once again the need to eliminate discrepancies between test cycle results and real-life driving conditions.’

The National Emissions Ceilings directive regulates sulphur dioxide, non-methane volatile organic compounds, ammonia and nitrogen oxides. Projections suggest the first three will meet their targets.