Government begins investigation into brake and tyre wear

Experts have been asked by the government to provide evidence on airborne particulate matter emissions from brakes, tyres and road surface wear, and the likely impact this has on air pollution.

As part of a call for evidence, launched this morning (26 July), Defra and the Department for Transport have asked for details on the potential air quality impact of non-exhaust emissions to feed into the final Clean Air Strategy, which is due to be published later this year.

Government is seeking evidence of the impact of tyre and brake wear on particulate emissions

The call for evidence was one of the measures outlined in the Road to Zero Strategy, published earlier this month.

Government has said it is ‘particularly interested in evidence which will help to quantify the true scale of the problem’ as well as the potential for abatement methods to counter the issue.

In its call for evidence, the government said: “Our evidence suggests that as emissions from exhausts decrease, particulate emissions from non-exhaust sources are becoming increasingly important, particularly due to the potential for road traffic to increase in the future. In some cases, the particulate matter emissions from brake wear, tyre wear and road wear may be more than that from the exhaust.”


The consultation, which runs until 28 September, also links abrasion from tyres and road paints to the production of micro-plastic particles which can enter the sea.

It added: “The purpose of this call for evidence is to gather evidence on these non-exhaust emissions, to review our estimates of their contribution to air pollution, to develop forecasts for how they will evolve in the future, and to identify concrete actions we might take to generate a step change in work in this area and understand the policies that might support that work.

“The evidence gathered will inform the government’s final Clean Air Strategy, which will be published for later this year, following the current consultation, and also inform the marine strategy.”

Commenting on the launch of the call for evidence, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey, said: “While we are all now well aware that fumes from the exhaust pipes on our cars can have a detrimental impact on human health, it is less well known that tiny particles that are released from our brakes and tyres also contribute to air pollution and can harm our precious marine life.

“This call for evidence will help us to learn more about how these particles are released as well the actions we can take to reduce their impact. I encourage anyone who has evidence or solutions to share to get involved.”

Transport Minister Jesse Norman added: “Particulate pollution from exhausts has been reduced substantially in recent years. But we must also take action to reduce the very serious pollution caused by the wear of tyres, brakes and roads.

“Tackling this issue is crucial for reducing air pollution. We would urge anyone who has expertise in this area to get involved and share their evidence and views.”

Related Links
Call for Evidence: Brake, Tyre and Road Surface Wear


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