Air pollution in cities is an increasingly important issue being addressed by governments and city administrators. According to the United Nations’ climate and clean air coalition, nine out of 10 people around the world live in an environment where pollution levels exceed World Health Organization limits. Diesel emissions are regarded as a primary source of pollutants and have been blamed for the premature deaths of 3m people a year. Now, political momentum is gathering pace. The Institute for Public Policy Research has stated that “it is likely that diesel cars [and trucks] will have to be completely phased out … over the next decade in order to reach compliance with safe and legal levels of air pollution.” This has led an increasing number of city authorities to place controls on, and even ban, types of diesel engine vehicles.
As countries and cities around the world race to address pollution levels, transport and logistics companies face a raft of new restrictions affecting their delivery operations. There is very little consistency of regulations, even often within the same country, and this provides a complex and confusing framework within which to work. Restrictions are often imposed based on:
The complexity of the environment in which truck operators have to operate is exemplified by the disparity of regulations in Europe where it might be thought that a standardised approach to the issue would exist:
Even the way in which programmes work vary from city to city. Some employ a coloured sticker scheme, others are more technologically advanced using automatic number plate recognition. Some cities allow many exemptions to the regulations, others many less. Of course, countries in Asia and in the Americas have even more diverse controls and levels of restriction on diesel trucks.
The plethora of restrictions which apply to trucks across markets around the world is highly confusing to operators and, of course, to truck manufacturers. Complete bans on diesel engines rely on there being alternative solutions to the delivery of goods to inner city areas and for this to occur there has to be considerable progress in the development of alternative fuels. But despite all the hype, a world without diesel is many years off.
Source: Transport Intelligence, November 28, 2019
Author: John Manners-Bell
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